Η Mercedes μετά το Future Truck 2025 concept, ετοίμασε και ένα αυτόνομο λεωφορείο που μπορεί να κινηθεί αυτόνομα μέσα στους δρόμους της πόλης. Το λεωφορείο εφοδιάζεται με το εξελιγμένο σύστημα CityPilot που του επιτρέπει να κινηθεί αυτόνομα στους δρόμους μιας πόλης με ταχύτητες έως και 70 χλμ/ώρα.
Η γερμανική εταιρία, για να αποδείξει τις δυνατότητες του λεωφορείου, πραγματοποίησε μια δοκιμαστική διαδρομή, καλύπτοντας απόσταση 20 χιλιομέτρων, με το λεωφορείο να σταματά στις στάσεις, στα φανάρια και να φρενάρει όποτε συναντούσε εμπόδιο. Φυσικά ανοιγόκλεινε τις πόρτες για την είσοδο και την έξοδο του επιβατικού κοινού, με έναν οδηγό να βρίσκεται για λόγους ασφαλείας πίσω από το τιμόνι, ώστε να επέμβει σε περίπτωση που χρειαστεί.
Σύμφωνα με την Mercedes-Benz, για να μπορεί το λεωφορείο να κινηθεί αυτόνομα, κάνει χρήση ραντάρ, GPS και καμερών, ενώ στο μέλλον, τα λεωφορεία θα επικοινωνούν μέσω Wi-Fi, ώστε να μπορούν να μάθουν την κατάσταση των φωτεινών σηματοδοτών, έτσι ώστε να μπορούν -αν είναι δυνατόν- να περνούν όλα τα φανάρια με πράσινο.
Στις σχετικές ειδήσεις, υπάρχουν φωνές εκεί έξω που θέλουν τις αυτοκινητοβιομηχανίες να αντλήσουν τεχνολογίες από την αεροπορική βιομηχανία, για την εξέλιξη των αυτόνομων οχημάτων. Βλέπεις, τα εμπορικά αεροσκάφη, χρησιμοποιούν αυτοματοποιημένα συστήματα εδώ και δεκαετίας, με αυτά να έχουν αποδειχτεί ιδιαίτερα χρήσιμα στις πτήσεις μεγάλων αποστάσεων, αυξάνοντας παράλληλα και την ασφάλεια στον κλάδο αεροπλοΐας.
Με τους δρόμους να είναι πολύ πιο χαοτικοί και επικίνδυνοι από τον αέρα, οι εταιρίες πρέπει να εξελίξουν τέτοια συστήματα ασφαλείας, ώστε να είναι σίγουρες πως θα προσφέρουν την απαιτούμενη ασφάλεια στους επιβάτες ενός αυτοκινήτου.
World premiere: Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot – a milestone on the way to the autonomous city bus
World premiere: Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot –
A milestone on the way to the autonomous city bus, and a revolutionary mobility system for the future
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus: safe, ecological, comfortable – semi-automated driving with the CityPilot
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus as a technology platform: from the passenger compartment to the passenger’s dream, the revolutionary exterior and interior design
On the road in Amsterdam in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot
The bus as a solution for urban mobility: the concept for the future is BRT – Bus Rapid Transit
Daimler Buses at the 2016 IAA for commercial vehicles: the future of mobility, new drive systems, equipment and services
World premiere: Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot – a milestone on the way to the autonomous city bus, and a revolutionary mobility system for the future
- CityPilot: a milestone on the way to autonomous driving in urban public transport
- Mercedes-Benz Future Bus: spectacular technology platform with a trailblazing design
- CityPilot: fascinating technology improves safety, efficiency and comfort
- 20 km journey without steering, accelerating and without brake pedal
Stuttgart / Amsterdam – Megacities, traffic gridlock, environmental problems – the hot topics are the same on every continent. Under these circumstances, people’s need for mobility to attend work and school and take recreation, cannot be met by private transport alone. Daimler as a mobility provider has a number of possible solutions. A major one is a range of buses, especially when used as a complete, individually coordinated transport system for urban environments. What urban public transport will look like in the future is shown by the semi-automated city bus with CityPilot – it operates even more safely, efficiently and comfortably than conventional buses. Connectivity plus camera and radar systems with data fusion are catapulting the city bus into the future. Mercedes-Benz is showing this spectacular technology on an equally spectacular technology platform, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot. Together they set a milestone, both in the history of the bus and on the way to autonomous and accident-free driving. Daimler is the leading manufacturer of vehicles with automated driving functions. With the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, Daimler Buses is now presenting its very specific idea of a city bus of tomorrow.
Benefits for passengers, drivers and operators in equal measure
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot further enhances the attractiveness of the city bus as a means of transport. This above all applies to passengers, but also to drivers and bus operators. All three groups benefit from a revolutionary design and trailblazing technology. The bus becomes one with its environment, both in terms of its exterior and interior design and of the technology employed as it moves along its dedicated line and communicates with its surroundings.
CityPilot: fascinating technology improves safety, efficiency and comfort
The technology of the CityPilot in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is based on that of the autonomously driving Mercedes-Benz Actros truck with Highway Pilot presented two years ago. It has however undergone substantial further development specifically for use in a city bus, with numerous added functions. The CityPilot is able to recognise traffic lights, communicate with them and safely negotiate junctions controlled by them. It can also recognise obstacles, especially pedestrians on the road, and brake autonomously. It approaches bus stops automatically, where it opens and closes its doors. And not least, it is able to drive through tunnels.
Just under a dozen cameras scan the road and surroundings, while long and short-range radar systems constantly monitor the route ahead. There is also a GPS system. Thanks to data fusion, all the data received create an extremely precise picture and allow the bus to be positioned to within centimetres. This already works in practice, as demonstrated by the world premiere of the CityPilot on an exacting route covering almost 20 km, with a number of tight bends, tunnels, numerous bus stops and involving high speeds for a city bus.
This semi-automated city bus improves safety, as it relieves its driver’s workload and nothing remains hidden from its cameras and radar systems. It improves efficiency, as its smooth, predictive driving style saves wear and tear while lowering fuel consumption and emissions. With its smooth and even rate of travel it also improves the comfort of its passengers.
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus: spectacular technology platform with a trailblazing design
The CityPilot is presented in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus as a technology platform. The around twelve metre long solo bus based on the globally best-selling Citaro is a completely new departure in terms of exterior and interior design. Its harmonious lines and asymmetrical contours take their lead from city architecture. Whether with its design, lighting, door layout or information systems – the unique Mercedes-Benz Future Bus fully lives up to its name.
The same applies to the interior, the open-plan design of which takes its lead from city squares and parks. The passenger compartment is truly a passenger’s dream. It is divided into three zones for different lengths of stay. Designer seats are loosely arranged along the walls in each zone. Innovative grab rails reflect the park-like theme by branching upwards like trees towards the two-tone ceiling. The ceiling lighting resembles a leaf canopy. Operators are able to relay information and entertainment via large monitors in the middle segment of the passenger compartment. The completely newly designed cockpit is an integral part of the interior space. The driver receives the information he/she requires from a large screen with an innovative display.
20 km journey without steering, accelerating and without brake pedal
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot is making its first public journey on part of Europe’s longest BRT route (BRT = Bus Rapid Transit) in the Netherlands. This links Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport with the town of Haarlem. This almost 20 km long route is a real challenge for the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, as it has numerous bends and passes through tunnels and across junctions with traffic lights.
The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot is well able to meet this challenge: it has a top speed of 70 km/h on the open road, is able to recognise obstacles and pedestrians on the road, comes to a precise halt at bus stops, opens and closes its doors, moves off automatically and communicates with traffic light systems. Throughout the journey the driver does not need to operate the accelerator or brake at all, and only needs to take the wheel in accordance with traffic regulations when there is oncoming traffic. However, the driver is able to intervene at any time and immediately take control if required.
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot – the future of the city bus has begun. It is ideally suitable for BRT systems, with which it is possible to resolve worldwide traffic problems in densely populated areas and metropolitan regions. It operates highly efficiently, significantly improves the level of safety and relieves driver workload. Daimler Buses is thereby developing the bus transport system of tomorrow.
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus: safe, ecological, comfortable – semi-automated driving with the CityPilot
- BRT lines are ideal for autonomous driving
- CityPilot – a highly specialised and unique technical feature
- Semi-automated driving with the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus – how the CityPilot works in practice
Ten cameras in different systems with a wide range of purposes, long and short-range radar systems, fusion of the resulting data and reconciliation with stored values, networking with traffic light systems and an automatic braking system – these are the technical requirements of the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot for semi-automated driving on BRT routes. The CityPilot is another milestone reached by Mercedes-Benz on the road to autonomous driving. The CityPilot is based on the Highway Pilot of the Mercedes-Benz Actros, however it exceeds the latter’s capabilities to meet the needs of its specific area of operation: new functions include traffic light recognition, pedestrian recognition, centimetric precision when halting at bus stops and the ability to drive semi-autonomously in tunnels. In this way the bus becomes one with its environment not only with its design, but also with the technology it uses to move along its line and communicate with its surroundings.
BRT lines are ideal for autonomous driving
Always the same route on a separate line or track, a clearly defined timetable, defined and identical actions at bus stops: regular service city buses on BRT lines (BRT = Bus Rapid Transit) are ideal for autonomous driving. Both in the truck and passenger car sectors, Mercedes-Benz is the leader in taking steps on the way towards autonomous driving. Transferring this comprehensive know-how to the regular city service bus sector is therefore logical.
Bus operation is however subject to certain special circumstances – this is why the technology cannot simply be adopted from other vehicle systems, but must rather be developed further in the important aspects and where necessary also supplemented regarding the specific operating conditions. This applies to typical traffic situations such as traffic lights and pedestrian recognition, vehicles ahead in the same lane, passing through tunnels, negotiating junctions controlled by traffic lights, stopping and departing from bus stops and automatic opening and closing of passenger doors.
CityPilot – a highly specialised and unique technical feature
The specific operating conditions for a city bus therefore require equally specific technical equipment for autonomous driving – the cost and effort required for monitoring the road and the surroundings is extraordinarily high. Mercedes-Benz can however fall back on extensive experience with the Future Truck. This includes features such as long-range radar with a range of up to 200 m, electrically actuated Servotwin steering and the mirrorcams instead of exterior mirrors. Also familiar is the lane-tracking camera, which is used for the Lane Keeping Assist systems in other Mercedes-Benz buses and trucks. A further lane-tracking camera is used as an additional safeguard.
There are no less than four short-range radar sensors – two in the front section and two at the front corners – to cover distances from 50 centimetres to ten metres ahead of the bus. Two stereo cameras with a range of up to 50 metres allow 3D vision and recognition of obstacles and pedestrians.
Precise positioning with centimetric accuracy
Precise positioning of the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is ensured by the satellite supported location system GPS, the lane-tracking cameras and four cameras for global visual location. These cameras are installed at front axle level high up on the sides, monitoring the surroundings and comparing them with images pre-stored in memory. Their purpose is to ensure exact positioning, and they are guided by waypoints. They operate to an accuracy of eight centimetres and are also used in illuminated tunnels. Such cameras were first used three years ago, for the autonomous journey of a Mercedes-Benz S-Class on the Bertha-Benz Memorial Route.
Two further close-range cameras are directed vertically downwards at the front sides. These recognise the pattern of the asphalt road surface like a fingerprint, and likewise compare this continuously with previously stored images of the route. And finally there are three cameras recording the journey. They record both the movements of the bus and the actions of the driver.
In this way a complex process of sensor fusion creates a precise picture of the local environment, with the exact position of the bus in its immediate surroundings. This means that it moves along its lane with centimetric precision. More precisely than a driver could ever hope to achieve manually in day-to-day operation.
Networking technical data with the traffic light infrastructure along the route ensures early recognition of each traffic light status, thus allowing a predictive, consistent and as a result more fuel-efficient driving style than is possible by conventional means.
Semi-automated driving thanks to networking – a new dimension
The result is a new dimension in the efficiency of the bus as a means of transport, thanks to networking with its environment: the bus covers its entire route semi-automatically, without the driver having to operate the accelerator or brake, or even the passenger door controls – an enormous relief in regular service operation. Strictly speaking, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus operates at level two of the five defined levels on the way to autonomous driving – semi-automation with lane-keeping function, longitudinal guidance, acceleration and braking by assistance systems.
Intensive tests have verified safety and practical relevance
The development engineers have intensively tested the CityPilot both in test vehicles based on the Citaro and in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, including numerous test journeys on selected routes in closed-off areas. The world premiere in the Netherlands, on Airport Line 300 between Amsterdam and Haarlem, was also preceded by intensive tests.
One thing is therefore certain: the Mercedes-Benz CityPilot is not science fiction, it can already become a reality tomorrow. Even today, the bus is in public operation following an exemption from the state transport authority in Stuttgart according to Section 70 of the German vehicle licensing regulations, based on an expert report by TÜV Rhineland. It is allowed to operate on public roads despite deviating from the normal technical and service specifications.
World premiere on Airport Line 300 in Amsterdam
The CityPilot will celebrate its world public premiere in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus technology platform, on Airport Line 300 in the Netherlands. This links the Dutch metropolis of Amsterdam with Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport and the town of Haarlem. The route has a total length of 37.8 km, making it Western Europe’s longest BRT line.
For the world premiere of the CityPilot, Mercedes-Benz is using the 19 km stretch from Amsterdam-Schiphol airport to Haarlem. This has eleven stops, with a driving time of around 30 minutes. Depending on the time of day, the cycle time on this line is six to ten minutes. On average, Airport Line 300 is used by over 125 000 passengers each day, and it is operated by the Dutch transport company Connexxion.
The route profile of Airport Line 300 is demanding: the bends are sometimes very tight, and the oncoming traffic lane is not physically separated. The route also has 22 traffic lights, three tunnels and includes high speeds of up to 70 km/h. The bus stops are raised, allowing passengers to enter the buses conveniently at ground level.
Semi-automated driving with the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus – how the CityPilot works in practice
At the first bus stop on the BRT line, the driver presses a button to switch to semi-automated mode. He/she can then release the steering wheel and pedals – the bus now moves of its own accord. It moves off automatically and accelerates to a speed of up to 70 km/h. It remains precisely in the middle of its 3.1 m wide lane, with a deviation to the left or right of at most 20 cm even at maximum speed – this is far less than a driver can manage manually for a longer period. In illuminated tunnels, even with no GPS signal, the bus safely takes its guidance from its surroundings via global, visual location cameras.
When the bus approaches a bus stop, it stops fully automatically if required. At this slower speed it moves along its prescribed line to an accuracy of two centimetres, thanks to its high-precision systems. When stopping, the bus with CityPilot maintains a very small distance of only five centimetres from the kerb. This allows convenient entry and exit, even for passengers with restricted mobility or parents with pushchairs. The doors open and close automatically at bus stops, then the bus moves off again.
Fuel-savings and a smoothly flowing driving style thanks to networking
Traffic lights en route are no obstacle to the bus with CityPilot, as it knows the traffic lights on its line. Being networked with the traffic light, the bus can influence its status and obtain ‘green lights’ all the way. If the wireless connection to the traffic light is interrupted, the bus uses visual recognition.
Conversely, the traffic light communicates with the bus and tells it when it is about to change. The bus then automatically adjusts its speed to the situation. The result is a highly efficient and smooth driving style. It noticeably reduces fuel consumption and therefore CO2 emissions, saves wear and tear and is also very passenger-friendly by virtue of the smooth ride.
Automatic braking when encountering obstacles and pedestrians on the road
Thanks to its radar and camera technology, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot is able to recognise obstacles and pedestrians. It can identify pedestrians crossing its lane, for example. In such a case, the bus automatically initiates braking action. Additional function: at the end of a stop it does not accelerate away from the bus stop if pedestrians are crossing its path.
There is no automatic emergency braking function, out of consideration for standing passengers and those seated without a seat belt. If necessary, the driver can however take control of the vehicle at any time and take emergency braking action. The driver anyway has full responsibility at all times.
From the track-guided bus and the O-Bahn Busway to the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus
Mercedes-Benz has been a pioneer in autonomous driving in sophisticated city bus and BRT systems for decades. One of the precursors to the networked electronic systems of today’s CityPilot was the track-guided bus from Mercedes-Benz. Presented in 1979, it has operated in the city of Essen since 1980. In this city bus with mechanical track guidance, side-mounted guide rollers on the wheels run along guide rails – the driver can release the steering wheel when on the move. In subsequent years the network in Essen was expanded, with track-guided buses even sharing tracks in tunnels with trams in some instances. A further track-guided bus line was operational in Mannheim from 1992 to 2005.
From 1979, at its plant site in Rastatt, Mercedes-Benz operated electrified track-guided bus routes for buses with both mechanical and electronic track guidance using a guide cable recessed into the road surface. The route included a bridge and a tunnel, as well as a fast stretch for speeds of up to 100 km/h. There was also a one-off vehicle in operation: a double articulated bus with a length of 24 metres in two-way operation.
Another great pioneering achievement by Mercedes-Benz is the so-called O-Bahn Busway in Australia. It links the city of Adelaide with suburbs. Initially set up as a test route in the early 1980s, it began to carry passengers in 1988. In peak periods the buses operated with cycle times of just under one minute and reached speeds of up to 100 km/h. The O-Bahn in Adelaide is still in operation today, and is even being expanded.
Mercedes-Benz Future Bus as a technology platform: from the passenger compartment to the passenger’s dream, the revolutionary exterior and interior design
- Exterior: Unique symbiosis of form and function
- Interior: From the passenger compartment to the passenger’s dream
- Cockpit: Innovative driver area as part of the interior
As a technology platform, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus sends out unmistakable messages about the attractive local public transport of the future, and invites its passengers to enjoy a fascinating driving experience. Its design intentionally breaks with conventions, and is based on new approaches. The result is completely new design solutions. These benefit passengers, the driver and bus operators. The ready-to-drive city bus offers its passengers maximum comfort, functionality and information, gives its driver a radically simplified cockpit and benefits bus operators with rapid passenger flows. Both the exterior and interior designs are inspired by architecture, and the interior also revolutionises the use of space. Despite its futuristic design full of trailblazing ideas, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus relies on well-proven large-scale production technology for the bodyshell, powertrain and suspension: it is based on the platform of today’s most popular city bus, the globally best-selling Mercedes-Benz Citaro.
Innovative design of city buses has a long tradition at Mercedes-Benz
With its innovative exterior and interior design, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus systematically continues on a path which Mercedes-Benz has successfully taken with the Citaro for decades. Around 20 years ago, the first generation of the Citaro set new standards in exterior and interior design. Major features such as the A0-pillar, generous glazed areas and the passenger-friendly interior with wall-mounted cantilever seating and curved, vertical grab rails gave birth to a completely new design line for city buses. This has established itself worldwide, and been widely imitated.
The version of the Mercedes-Benz Citaro for the city of Hanover during Expo 2000 and for Leipzig shows how individual this series production city bus can be in appearance. The first and second generations of the large CapaCity articulated buses with the Metrobus design package, as well as versions of the Citaro G articulated bus for cities such as Nantes and Strasbourg, are further examples of heavily individualised city buses with a highly attractive exterior and interior.
With its friendly face, harmoniously flowing lines, a low beltline and dynamically styled, three-dimensional wheel arches, the current Mercedes-Benz Citaro likewise shows how attractive a regular service bus can be.
Exterior: Unique symbiosis of form and function
However, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is more radical than its predecessor, and intentionally breaks with conventions and standard design and spatial concepts for city buses. It was created from a blank sheet of paper. The result: the exterior and interior design is an extraordinary symbiosis of form and function.
The front section impresses with its clear layout. Below the windscreen the Mercedes star as a trademark is the centrepiece. Two white light bars extend from it to each side. In view of their shape, the designers refer to these as “paddles”. Their illumination in white (manual) and blue (semi-automated) indicates the current driving status of the bus.
At the top the windscreen transitions into a compact destination indicator. A panel covers the area above the driver. This design touch symbolises the fact that the driver on board this semi-automated city bus only plays a diminished role behind the wheel. The technology platform dispenses with conventional exterior mirrors in favour of camera systems, so-called mirrorcams.
In its basic form the low side wall takes its lead from the current Citaro. This is made obvious by the dynamically styled wheel arches, for example. The side walls have a silver paint finish, as has the roof panelling. This covers the roof-mounted equipment and ensures an integrated appearance. The cladding panels are intentionally asymmetrical in design. They are inspired by forms found in urban architecture, but are also strictly functional. For example, an exterior facing on the windows of the left side covers the info-terminal on the inside.
Two double doors in the centre speed up passenger flows
The door arrangement of the city bus is also a departure from convention. Like the entire bus, it has been rethought. The usual doors facing the cockpit and behind the rear axle are omitted – instead passengers enter and leave the bus via two double-width doors between the axles.
These doors are marked with luminescent bands on the outside – green means entry, red means exit – to speed up passenger flows in the standing zone between the axles. This therefore becomes the “main traffic zone” in the city bus, as this is where the majority of passengers only covering short distances will congregate. At the same time this calms the other areas in the interior – a benefit for passengers spending longer on board.
An electronic ticket system makes the usual ticket control by the driver unnecessary. The ticket system is a major part of the vehicle’s connectivity – the driver is able to concentrate on key activities rather than selling and checking tickets.
At the same time e-ticketing considerably speeds up passenger flows, which means shorter stopping times at bus stops and faster travel times, making travel by bus even more attractive for passengers. The design plus the completely reorganised passenger flows therefore have a positive overall influence on the bus as a transport system.
Corner pillars like a frame, innovative rear lights
The rear end also has a new design, with a basic paint finish in black. The panel on the left echoes the design of the front section. The corner pillars are formed like a frame, and suggest stability. Their lines flow into the panelling on the roof, sidewalls and rear end. The rear lights are likewise new. The strip between the rear lights indicates the driving mode: it lights up in blue during semi-automated driving, and in white during manual operation.
Design and function complement each other perfectly in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus, and set new standards in this combination. But as unusual and exciting the design of the city bus may be, it is based on the Mercedes-Benz Citaro in the version with a vertical engine, of which many thousands of examples have proved their worth. The structural skeleton of the bus has remained practically untouched.
Interior: From the passenger compartment to the passenger’s dream
Like the exterior, the interior of the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus opens up completely new perspectives on the urban public transport of tomorrow. The passenger compartment of the technology platform forms a contrast to conventional interior layouts. It takes its lead from public spaces such as squares and parks, and has nothing in common with the usual appearance of a city bus. Inside and outside blend together, as the bus also connects to the outside world through its design, and becomes one with it.
Following the low-floor principle throughout, the interior is divided into three zones: At the front near the driver is the “Service” zone, in the middle near the doors the “Express” zone for short distances and mainly standing passengers and rapid passenger flows. At the rear is the “Lounge” zone intended for a longer stay on board.
Despite these different user zones, the entire passenger compartment is open-plan in nature. The floor covering is in scratched white/light blue with sparkling inserts. Visually it resembles an icy surface, also in recognition of the venue for the world premiere. A light strip makes orientation in the interior easier. This changes colour between white (manual mode) and blue (semi-automated mode) depending on the operating status of the bus.
The already generous glazed area is visually enlarged by a black band. At waist level a silver-grey band of fabric meanders along the walls, underlining the cosiness of the interior. All in all the regular service city bus is transformed into an urban living space.
This shift is also emphasised by the seating layout: in contrast to the usual arrangement, the passenger seats are arranged along the walls in asymmetrical groups. This grouping is also reminiscent of a city square or park with benches. The impression gained is one of a structured space with various retreats. The seats are shining white shells with a padded surface and a light-green backrest. Their lines have been inspired by designer chairs. The design idiom combines classic seat contours with zeitgeist influences. People entering this environment feel more like guests than passengers.
Grab rails like trees, lighting like leaves and sunlight from the ceiling
The grab rails for standing passengers are arranged in the centre zone. In the larger standing-room segments of current city buses there is already a trend towards centrally arranged grab rails resembling a trident. The technology platform takes this idea further and combines it with the park-like layout of the interior. The result is triangular, light metallic grab rails extending to ceiling height. These are easy to grip, and branch upwards like trees.
Following the same theme, the ceiling lighting in the form of geometric patterns grouped near the branching grab rails is reminiscent of a leaf canopy. The ceiling itself is divided in terms of materials and colours: on the driver’s side it is in matt satin pure white, while on the right side it is lined in light-coloured fabric with a light-green surface pattern. The visual effect is that it brings sunlight into the bus, assisted by the interior lighting. The passenger compartment thus becomes a space where passengers feel comfortable and at ease, a space they enter gladly rather than out of necessity.
Information, entertainment and advertising via large monitors
Apart from its appearance and choice of materials, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus as a technology platform also breaks new ground with respect to information technology and the associated connectivity. Passengers receive information from two 43-inch monitors. These are embedded in an overhead console in the central zone of the passenger compartment.
They allow the bus’s progress along the route to be followed, and provide information and entertainment similar to that in an airport waiting area. Whether the latest news, the image from a driver camera or advertising spots – there are no limits to the imagination, and passenger information reaches a totally new level.
Cockpit: Innovative driver area as part of the interior
In the city bus of tomorrow, the driver also takes a seat in the cockpit of tomorrow. The driver’s workplace is fundamentally different to that in a conventional 2016 city bus. For example, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus does not compartmentalise its cockpit – the driver area becomes part of the interior, and even manages without a partition and separating door. A certain degree of separation occurs automatically thanks to omission of the front entry door, however.
The cockpit itself is both welcoming and homely. The driver area of the city bus has a continuation of the silver-grey fabric surround that forms a band around the interior. In view of semi-automated driving with a host of automated procedures and actions, the city bus of tomorrow dispenses with the familiar, substantially standardised VDV cockpit. Instead an airy, lightweight instrument panel support is used.
Display with reduced vehicle information and more route-related data
Conventional instruments are replaced by an informative 12.3-inch display with specific information. This has been reduced to the essentials where vehicle functions are concerned, but considerably expanded with regard to route information. At the same time the form of display has been brought to a new level.
The current speed is shown digitally in the centre, and symbolically also the route ahead with the next traffic lights and bus stops, plus the distances to them. The display also reports impending activities – e.g. when an automatic stop is due at a traffic light or bus stop. Tunnel entrances and exits ahead are also displayed. The central instrument also points out vehicles ahead, or any obstacles on the road, and indicates the distance to them.
If the bus is driven in manual mode by a driver, a second speedometer is added as a dial instrument with segments, and the figures in the digital display become larger.
Traffic lights and bus stops in an information display
When there is a traffic light, bus stop, vehicle or obstacle ahead, an information graphic appears on the right of the display. This takes the form of an arc. At traffic lights and bus stops, this uses a countdown with coloured segments and figures in seconds to show the expected time before the journey can continue, that the traffic light has been reached or that the lights will change. By looking at a stylised silhouette of the bus, the driver can also monitor the status of the doors, which is important when halting at a bus stop.
Dial instruments with coloured segments on the left side of the display show the fuel and AdBlue levels and the status of the onboard electrical system. A function bar at the top of the display contains the icons for the ready status of all systems, for example the traffic light recognition system with camera and V2I (Vehicle to Infrastructure) identification, or the locating system. A second function bar at the bottom of the display informs the driver of e.g. the odometer reading, transmission status and the gear engaged. The control lamps are also located here.
Familiar control buttons moved to the left
The usual control buttons and switches in a conventional city bus are not required when driving semi-autonomously – whether the doors, lighting or windscreen wiper, all are controlled automatically. For this reason the relevant controls have been moved to the left, from the instrument panel to the console below the window sill. This still leaves them readily accessible for manual driving outside enclosed BRT routes.
Thanks to the mirrorcams, the driver no longer has to consult conventional exterior mirrors for a view to the rear. The externally mounted camera systems transfer the image onto large monitors. They are mounted inside, near the A-pillar. Installation at the height familiar from classic mirrors makes it easier for experienced bus drivers to change over to the new technology.
Alternatives to the state-of-the-art diesel engine: gas and electric drive
The drive unit is located on the opposite end of the bus: The Mercedes-Benz OM 936 in-line six-cylinder engine, probably the world’s most modern diesel engine for city buses, is installed on the left in the rear. It develops 220 kW (299 hp), meets the Euro VI emission standard and transfers its power to the driven low-floor portal axle via an automatic torque converter transmission.
This does not have to be the only alternative, however: the new Mercedes-Benz M 936 G gas engine would also be conceivable. This impresses with even lower emissions than a diesel engine, and even quieter running. But the possibilities by no means end there, as Mercedes-Benz has announced a battery-electric drive system for city buses for 2018. Thanks to the omission of an engine in the rear, this will open up new possibilities for an attractive interior design. But above all, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus will then not only be semi-automated and extremely safe, but also locally emissions-free and as quiet as a whisper as it powers into the future.
On the way to tomorrow: On the road in the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot
- Semi-automated driving in Amsterdam on Western Europe’s longest BRT line
- Safe driving at 70 km/h
- Automated procedure at bus stops: come to a stop, open and close the doors, move off
- Benefits for operators: reduced costs, increased availability
- Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) – the CityPilot communicates with traffic light systems
- The challenge of negotiating tunnels: Guidance by cameras alone
Already on the road now, with the city bus of tomorrow: the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot provides a specific and attractive foretaste of the city bus and bus-based transport systems of the future.The Mercedes-Benz Future Bus is being presented in semi-automated driving on Airport Line 300 from Haarlem to Amsterdam in the Netherlands.
Semi-automated driving on Western Europe’s longest BRT line
The “Schalkwijk Centrum” bus stop on Airport Line 300 between the town of Haarlem and metropolitan Amsterdam. Schalkwijk is the largest district of Haarlem, with around 30 000 inhabitants. Airport Line 300 links Haarlem to Schiphol airport, with an extension to Amsterdam. This popular line is used by around 125 000 passengers each day, and the buses arrive and leave at intervals of a few minutes.
Airport Line 300 is Western Europe’s longest BRT line (BRT = Bus Rapid Transit). Long stretches of its route are on bridges or in tunnels. In towns and built-up areas the buses are usually at ground level, and the route includes road junctions. This is a challenge with respect to autonomous driving – and the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot rises to it masterfully.
At the touch of a button the bus with CityPilot drives semi-autonomously
The bus driver presses a blue key on the left-hand window sill console to activate the CityPilot. Prerequisite: The drivers feet must leave the accelerator or brake pedal, and the steering wheel must be released, as any driver activity overrides the CityPilot – the driver always retains final control, and is able to intervene. The content of the display has now changed. The lettering “Pilot” becomes visible, and the speedometer – previously shown as an instrument segment and digitally – is reduced to a digital display.
A special traffic light operates ahead of the bus: two red spots next to each other on the BRT line mean Stop, and two white spots one above the other mean Go. The light changes to white, and the bus gently moves off into the middle of its lane as if guided by an unseen hand. Standing passengers have no need to worry, as this bus always drives defensively in the interests of its occupants, even if it is running late or the shift is coming to an end after a long day.
The bus is guided by camera systems, radar sensors and GPS
The next traffic light is showing red, and the bus tells its driver the distance at an early stage. The CityPilot is able to recognise the status of the light thanks to its sophisticated camera system. This is housed in a console at the lower edge of the windscreen. The technology is within the swept area of the windscreen wiper and defroster, but outside the driver’s direct field of view. Radar sensors are located further down. The bus also has GPS on board. The lights change just before the bus comes to a stop, so it promptly accelerates completely automatically and drives across the junction without stopping.
Another red traffic light – safely and gently, the bus applies its brakes automatically and comes to a stop. A number of pedestrians hurry across the road while the light is changing. The bus waits, lets them pass and only moves off when the road is clear. Its route is marked with the lettering “Lijnbus” (service bus) in the area of junctions so that car drivers do not go there by mistake.
Safe driving at 70 km/h without steering
More traffic lights, two bridges, an underpass. The bus safely maintains its course. On leaving a built-up area it accelerates to the permitted 70 km/h. The maximum speed is pre-programmed, and the driver’s hands remain off the wheel even at this speed. Surface undulations move the bus up and down, and it passes through a short tunnel. The bus serenely continues on its course, performing small steering movements to remain reliably and precisely in the centre of its lane. When there is oncoming traffic in the form of manually controlled buses, the driver’s hands briefly move to the steering wheel to intervene if necessary, as required by the regulations.
Automated procedure at bus stops: come to a stop, open and close the doors, move off
The first stop is named “Vijfhuizen”, the bus approaches it smoothly without driver action and then stops just alongside the raised kerb. Dutch bus drivers can do this as well, as can their colleagues worldwide. But now they have a working aid in the form of a white line on the road: if they drive precisely towards it, the distance from the kerb is perfect. If the bus comes too close the tyres will scrape the kerb, which is why city bus tyres have reinforced walls. If the gap is too large, passengers have difficulty in getting in and out. However, the Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot requires neither great driver skill nor reinforced tyres – it always complies with the regulations, keeping the right distance from the kerbs along its route.
The procedure at bus stops is also automated: when the bus has stopped it automatically engages its frequent-stop brake and opens the doors. A photoelectric barrier tells it whether passengers are getting in. The doors are closed when all are on board. A countdown then runs in the driver’s display, and the bus moves off after exactly five seconds. It moves slowly on by only a few metres, as the next traffic light just after the bus stop is red.
Benefits for operators: reduced costs, increased availability
The continually gentle and moderate style of driving benefits not only passengers, but operators and the environment, too. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions drop, the strain on the engine and other major assemblies is reduced, resulting in prolonged service lives – and the same goes for the tyres. All these factors add up to long-term reductions in costs and increase the availability of the buses.
Three more traffic lights are subsequently encountered on Airport Line 300. The bus recognises them and responds correctly according to the light shown, without requiring any action on the part of the driver. On leaving a village, the road has an upward gradient and the BRT line passes over a long bridge. There is also a slight right-hand bend, and the bus negotiates it without a murmur at around 65 km/h.
The CityPilot distinguishes between objects on the road and next to it
To the camera and radar technology, it must appear that the bus is moving directly towards road signs or other obstacles when taking a bend. But this is no problem: the bus is moving in a so-called “hose” and will not react to objects next to the road surface – it can distinguish between an obstacle on the road and an obstacle next to the road.
The route is now almost completely straight, and again resembles a country route, running parallel with an expressway. Soon afterwards the road will reach a raised stretch. After a slight left-hand bend the road turns sharply to the left on entering the town of Hoofddorp – a challenge for the systems of the CityPilot. The bus decelerates to around 40 km/h and takes the bend without difficulty.
Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) – the CityPilot communicates with traffic light systems
The line now passes through Hoofddorp, a district of just over 70 000 inhabitants forming the centre of the municipality of Haarlemmermeer. There is a close succession of bus stops and traffic lights. And a special feature that makes the advantages of connectivity obvious: the bus and the traffic lights communicate with each other. The magic word is V2I, Vehicle to Infrastructure.
This works by WLAN to a distance of around 300 m. The traffic light tells the bus what colour it is showing, while the bus reports its approach and adjusts its speed to the predictable colour change. It can initiate a priority change to ensure a “green light” along the route. It is not always automatically given priority, however, because if another bus has just passed through or cross-traffic has just been given the “green” light, an immediate change would lead to a traffic jam. So the bus and the traffic light flexibly adapt their actions thanks to their communication, allowing the best possible traffic flow.
This is why it is also unimportant that one traffic light in Hoofddorp is hidden behind a road sign just before the “Tolenburg” bus stop. It is easily overlooked with the naked eye, and a challenge for the bus’s camera systems, but for V2I such handicaps present no problem.The fast and reliable WLAN connection avoids the need for any visual contact. Data transmission takes place with WLAN technology via the standardised ITS-G5 frequency band at 5.9 gigahertz (standard IEEE 802.11p). The same applies to the two adjacent traffic lights for different directions of travel after the next bus stop, “Beukenhorst” – the CityPilot always identifies the colour correctly, with no danger of errors.
The challenge of negotiating tunnels: Guidance by cameras alone
The bus covers the stretch up to the final stop in De Hoek on a raised carriageway once again, with Schiphol airport already visible in the background. The bus approaches it through a 1.7 kilometre long tunnel – semi-automatically, with no GPS signal, guided only by its camera systems. On the way it passes below part of the airport. At the “Schiphol Handelskade” stop it emerges above ground again – the end of a fascinating 19 km long, semi-automated journey into the future of the city bus. Now it is the driver’s turn to take control.
The bus as a solution for urban mobility: the concept for the future is BRT – Bus Rapid Transit
- City populations are growing fast – and need to remain mobile
- BRT lines: successful on every continent
- Daimler traffic experts advise cities all over the world
- Tailor-made vehicles bearing the Mercedes star for BRT systems
City populations worldwide are growing at a very fast pace, and therefore also the need for mobility. The answer to this cannot be private transport in every case, and especially not in the metropolitan regions. Buses are part of the solution to these traffic problems. As a mobility provider, however, Daimler supplies more than just suitable vehicles: a special department successfully works on establishing bus-based transport systems around the world. One of the main emphases is on BRT systems (BRT = Bus Rapid Transit). These make it possible to connect suburbs rapidly, inexpensively and flexibly, to consolidate traffic flows in cities and to maintain mobility in megacities.
City populations are growing fast – and need to remain mobile
There are more than 1000 cities around the world with populations of at least 500 000. Between 20 and 40 million inhabitants call metropolitan regions such as Tokyo-Yokohama, Mexico City, New York, Seoul, Mumbai, São Paulo and Manila their home. Since 2008 more than half the world’s population lives in cities. The UN expects that this proportion will reach around 70 percent in 2050 – with a growing world population.
The people in all these cities and regions expect mobility – they need to reach their workplaces or schools, do their shopping and be mobile in their free time. The challenges in these conurbations can no longer be answered with private transport. Specialists in traffic data have produced measured results: every inhabitant of the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany, for example, spends an average of around 40 hours per year in traffic tailbacks. In Germany, Stuttgart and Cologne are the “tailback capitals” with more than 70 hours in tailbacks.
Traffic gridlock: The bus as a major part of the solution
The UITP (Union Internationale des Transports Publics) has produced a simple calculation: Transporting 10 000 people over one kilometre requires 2000 cars needing around 24 000 m2 of road space. In the case of a roughly twelve metre long solo bus such as the Mercedes-Benz Citaro, only 100 vehicles with a road space of 3200 m2 are required. If a high-capacity bus such as the Mercedes-Benz CapaCity is used, 50 vehicles covering a total road space of around 3000 m2 are even sufficient.
BRT is therefore a way out of impending traffic gridlock. The three letters stand for Bus Rapid Transit. BRT systems are characterised by their own lines with separate, barrier-free bus stops, own traffic light settings and special ticketing systems with advance sale of tickets. Depending on the expected passenger demand, the individual elements of BRT systems can vary in size. In South America BRT systems have taken over the role of subway systems, and are correspondingly large in extent. European solutions are more like tram systems in size.
BRT systems: inexpensive, flexible, quick to set up
The advantage of BRT systems: They are quick to set up, inexpensive and flexible. They reduce traffic density, lower exhaust and noise emissions, increase travelling speeds and generally improve the quality of life.
Daimler Buses was one of the pioneers of such systems with the introduction of a BRT system in the Australian city of Adelaide around 30 years ago. Experts estimate that there are now around 180 BRT systems with a total of around 40 000 buses around the world. These alone carry around 30 million passengers each day.
BRT lines: successful on every continent
There are now BRT lines on every continent, and new ones are continuously being planned and set up. One major BRT region is South America, where fast-growing cities are serviced by BRT systems. The Brazilian city of Curitiba, for example, was an early pioneer in this transport concept with the 1968 introduction of a BRT system. Over the last few years, the Olympic city of Rio de Janeiro has developed a BRT system consisting of three corridors with a total length of 150 km. 90 Mercedes-Benz articulated buses, all with four axles and a length of 23 m, are e.g. in operation on the “TransOeste” line, the first to be opened. In Brazil these are known as “Ligeirão”, i.e. “large, rapid bus”.
“Metrobüs” line 34 in Istanbul is equally fascinating. It is covered by buses operating in extremely close succession, with left-hand traffic. The numbers are spectacular: 52 kilometres in length, 750 000 passengers each day. The backbone of this system are 250 Mercedes-Benz CapaCity articulated buses and 250 Mercedes-Benz Citaro and Conecto articulated buses.
In central Europe it is usual to use BRT lines as local systems, e.g. as feeder routes from the suburbs in Nantes, Nancy and Strasbourg, or to divert traffic from the city centre in Granada, Spain. In the Netherlands, Line 300 links the town of Haarlem (155 000 inhabitants) with nearby Schiphol airport and metropolitan Amsterdam.
Daimler traffic experts advise cities all over the world
BRT systems are not uncharted territory for Daimler Buses. On the contrary, a team of experts advises cities and transport operators worldwide during the introduction and further expansion of BRT systems. This unique service within the industry once again demonstrates that Daimler Buses is far more than a bus manufacturer. Instead Daimler Buses places its faith in all-round expertise, and gives support during the development of complete transport systems. The current team has been in place for just under ten years, and consists of traffic and urban planning specialists. These specialists are active around the world. The core team is located in Germany, plus there are locations in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa, the Middle East and Asia. The local specialists know the regional circumstances from personal experience.
The BRT specialists examine urban planning structures and the mobility behaviour of the population, and also existing roads and transport systems. They use these to develop recommendations for lines and routing, bus stops, payment systems and vehicle concepts. And they go right into detail, e.g. the choice of the right road surface covering or kerb stones suitable for bus stops.
The advisers benefit from their experience and knowledge of a wide range of different BRT systems. The resulting solutions are as individual as the cities themselves. In France, for example, there is the BHNS (Bus à Haut Niveau de Service = Buses with a high standard of service) – these are city buses with particularly high-quality appointments on BRT lines in Nantes or Strasbourg. They successfully induce car drivers to switch to buses. In other regions of the world such as South America, Asia or Africa, rapidly expanding megacities require a fundamental transport infrastructure.
Tailor-made vehicles bearing the Mercedes star for BRT systems
Daimler Buses is successfully active on every continent as one of the world’s leading bus manufacturers. The Mercedes-Benz brand is the centrepiece when it comes to regular service city buses. There is a suitable bus for every market and every BRT system. The mainstay of the range is the low-floor Citaro service bus, available in numerous variants and the world’s most successful city bus, with almost 50 000 units sold to date. The large-capacity, four axle CapaCity articulated bus is derived from it. As a close relative of the Citaro in the economy segment, the Mercedes-Benz Conecto meets all the requirements for a functional and cost-effective low-floor bus.
For the global chassis markets, Mercedes-Benz also has numerous different chassis with rear or front-mounted engine available for solo and articulated buses. For example the OC 500 LE, a low-entry chassis produced in Spain. As a Brazilian-made chassis suitable for BRT systems, the Superarticulado is an articulated bus chassis with four axles designed for buses with a length of up to 23 m. Mercedes-Benz works together closely with well-known regional and local bodybuilders to complete the buses.
A look at the world map confirms the global approach: Mercedes-Benz produces the Citaro in Mannheim and Neu-Ulm, as well as in Ligny/France, the Conecto in Hosdere/Turkey and service bus chassis in Brazil, Columbia, Mexico, Argentina, Spain, South Africa and Indonesia.
Daimler Buses at the 2016 IAA for commercial vehicles: the future of mobility, new drive systems, equipment and services
- Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot – the future of mobility
- Drive system: an even more frugal OM 470, an even cleaner Citaro NGT with gas engine, even more powerful minibus engines
- Equipment: more safety thanks to LED headlamps, more comfort with 1+1 seating, Coach MediaRouter, luxury head restraints, Composition leather material
- Service: 24h Service with optimised telediagnosis, Bus Depot Management, long-distance bus service
As a leading manufacturer of buses, Daimler Buses and its brands Mercedes-Benz and Setra, as well as its service brand Omniplus are moving into the future. The future of urban mobility solutions: the partially-autonomous Mercedes-Benz Future Bus with CityPilot shows what that will look like. It is neither a concept nor a visionary vehicle, it is reality: the town bus of tomorrow has already successfully concluded its testing in real traffic situations.
This said, even the present has its attractions. The 6-cylinder inline OM 470 engine is now even more frugal, robust and powerful. The Citaro NGT is truly impressive thanks to its low emissions. A fascinating touring experience is offered by Setra with the 1+1 seating arrangement. New comfort equipment makes Mercedes-Benz and Setra touring coaches even more luxurious, while the Coach MediaRouter turns them into a mobile hotspot. And last but not least, Omniplus has also further expanded its comprehensive range of services: the proven 24h Service just got even better thanks to the addition of telediagnosis, while Bus Depot Management allows Omniplus to take over customer workshops, and the long-distance bus service looks after touring coaches which cover significant distances.
Drive system: OM 470 – reduced consumption, increased top performance
Fuel consumption and emissions are down even further, while performance and robustness are up – the latest version of the compact, heavy-duty Mercedes-Benz OM 470 inline six-cylinder engine with 10.7 l displacement is an all-round star. It forms the centrepiece of Mercedes-Benz and Setra buses. It can be used in the low-floor articulated Citaro G as well in the rural-service buses of both brands, and even in the high-deck touring coaches.
The newest generation of the Mercedes-Benz OM 470 profits both from the technical prowess of the larger OM 471 engine which was further developed last year, as well as from its own set of technological features. New aspects are a considerably raised maximum injection pressure, the injection jets themselves, the combustion chamber and increased compression. Then comes a patented solution for exhaust gas recirculation with stepless control, asymmetric injection and a new turbocharger developed in-house with top-level efficiency – all of these optimise the fuel consumption. When the engine is used in touring coaches, it lowers the consumption by around 2.5 percent, by around 2.4 percent in rural-service buses and by around two percent in the Citaro G. This doesn’t just relieve strain on your wallet but also on the environment thanks to lower emissions.
At the same time, the complexity of the engine was able to be reduced by omitting a wastegate valve and boost pressure control, as well as the EGR sensor and EGR control. The robustness of the engine was also again able to be increased thanks to it being purely pilot-operated.
Typical for the engines is a very steep increase in torque and power in the middle engine speed range, as well as a reduction in the nominal engine speed from 1800 rpm to 1600 rpm. Excellent drivability with high agility and a very widely usable engine speed range result from this.
A new top-of-the-range variant with a power output of 335 kW (456 hp) and powerful maximum torque of 2200 Nm is also being introduced. This variant is available as an option for the Setra S 515 HD, S 516 HD/2, S 516 HD and S 517 HD high-deck versions of the ComfortClass 500. Power transmission is handled either by the new GO 230 six-speed manual transmission (standard) or the GO 250-8 PowerShift fully-automated transmission which is available as special equipment.
Citaro NGT: even quieter and more clean thanks to its gas engine
Quiet running and reduced CO2 emissions, low weight and an impressive passenger capacity, strong power delivery and low fuel consumption, as well as long maintenance intervals – the Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT with M 936 G natural-gas engine will celebrate its IAA premiere. It offers clear benefits for driving in heavily frequented inner cities.
The compact and light natural-gas engine with 7.7 l displacement performs like a diesel engine and simultaneously sets milestones in terms of noise and pollutant emissions. The turbo-charged engine is based on the highly modern OM 936 turbodiesel engine. The vertically-installed six-cylinder monovalent engine runs on compressed natural gas. It has an output of 222 kW (302 hp) and delivers a peak torque of 1200 Nm consistently between 1200 and 1600 rpm. To some extent, the natural gas engine undercuts the Euro VI emissions limits by a considerable margin. Power transmission is handled by means of an automatic transmission equipped with a torque converter.
The newly developed gas tanks can be found under a cover on the roof. The tanks are made of a composite material with a plastic core and are coated with carbon fibre and glass fibre layers. This combination of materials is both light and highly robust.
The new gas bottles and the compact engine both serve to lower the additional weight inherent of the Citaro NGT concept when compared with diesel-driven variants. This stands at around 485 kg in the case of a rigid vehicle. Equipped with the standard equipment, the Citaro NGT rigid bus can therefore carry up to 96 passengers, whilst the Citaro G NGT articulated bus can carry 153 passengers.
Mercedes-Benz offers the gas-powered bus as a Citaro NGT rigid bus and as a Citaro G NGT articulated bus. The Citaro NGT can be operated on natural gas or on organic natural gas – in the latter case, driving the vehicle is virtually CO2-neutral. The arguments in favour of the Citaro NGT are really impressive: we have already received three-figure orders of vehicles from Madrid and Augsburg.
Mercedes-Benz minibuses: more powerful engines, higher weights, new equipment
The Mercedes-Benz minibus programme profits from the further development of the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter which serves as the basis for the vehicles. The lower power ratings are now significantly more dynamic. The entry-level engine now has an output of 84 kW (114 hp) and attains a torque figure of 300 Nm – this corresponds to an increase of 20 percent in each case. Both of the parameters of the next power stage with its 105 kW (143 hp) output and 330 Nm of torque are around ten percent greater.
What’s more, Mercedes-Benz has extended the Sprinter product range with the addition of an ex factory Sprinter featuring a permissible gross vehicle weight of 5.5 t. For the mid-range weight variants of the Sprinter Mobility, Sprinter Transfer and Sprinter Travel minibus model series, the maximum payload is therefore increased by around 150 kg.
Bus-specific innovations have also been added to the minibus programme: the Sprinter City 65 vehicle exhibited has a new, weight-optimised retarder which, despite offering the same functionality and braking performance, now weighs 15 percent less than the previous version. Equally new is its combined pushchair and wheelchair space, which will be a compulsory component for urban regular-service buses as of 1 July 2017.
The exhibited vehicle also features impressive connectivity equipment, video surveillance of the passenger compartment and a computer-supported operational control system at the entrances with generously dimensioned central monitor for displaying route information. Meanwhile, destination and passenger management are also as much a part of the system as a Wi-Fi media router and USB connections on all seats.
The weight-optimised M1 minibuses from the Sprinter Mobility model series will be released in the second half of the year. The use of innovative composite materials in the airline floor rail system means payload increases of up to 35 kg, depending on the model. Increased ease of access and the omission of an extendible step on the front passenger door makes a new, lowered entry possible, which is optionally available for the Sprinter Mobility, Sprinter Transfer and Sprinter Travel model series.
Stylish travelling with 1+1 seating in the Setra TopClass 500
TopClass 500 – this designation stands for the top-of-the-range model series from Setra. Setra’s Voyage Ambassador 1+1 seating configuration can be personalised by the customer and demonstrates stylish travelling at its best. Swivelling seats with generously-proportioned folding leather armrests as well as stowage compartments and a folding drinks holder are all par for the course. Adjustable luxury head restraints, clip-on tables in the side wall, sockets at each seat, stowage pockets left and right, illuminated stowage compartments under each seat as well as footwell illumination allow the seats to meet the highest of expectations.
Setra will be presenting the seating arrangement in a 13.3 m super high-deck TopClass S 516 HDH. Among other things, the vehicle is equipped with ambient lighting as well as the TopSky Panorama glass roof.
LED headlamps: greater safety and lesser costs
A world first for Mercedes-Benz and Setra sees the IAA premiere of the first integrated LED headlamps in a bus. Drivers benefit from light which is less tiring on the eyes: the colour temperature of the light from LED headlamps is very close to that of daylight. A further safety feature: the light flow from an LED lamp remains almost exactly as high across its entire service life. And this service life is many times longer than that of halogen or xenon lamps. Several bulb changes are thus no longer required, and thus their associated costs and downtimes can also be dispensed with. Businesses benefit from LED headlamps thanks to noticeably lower maintenance costs.
The new lamps from Mercedes-Benz and Setra are bi-LED units which handle the dipped-beam and main-beam headlamps in one single housing. In each lamp, five LEDs generate the dipped beam, while three additional lamps produce the high beam. They are available for Setra TopClass 500 and ComfortClass 500 vehicles, as well as for the Mercedes-Benz Citaro. The LEDs have been integrated into the available headlamps of the respective model series. This means that the individual brand and model faces are retained in full, with form and function combined to perfection.
LED main headlamps will be demonstrated by Daimler Buses at the IAA using the Setra ComfortClass S 516 HD high-deck model, the Setra TopClass S 516 HDH super high-decker and the Mercedes-Benz Citaro NGT by way of example.
Coach MediaRouter: for connected, entertaining journeys
In long-distance line buses, it’s a must; in tour buses or touring coaches, it raises the game: high-speed internet for passengers is a competitive advantage in the bus travel market. All versions of the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo as well as the Setra ComfortClass 500, TopClass 500 and the double-decker S 431 DT can now be optionally equipped ex factory with a router and antenna.
The Coach MediaRouter incorporates two slots for LTE-capable SIM cards and two USB ports. In addition to simply providing an internet connection, this ensures that users can also use their end devices to access media stored locally in the bus while on-the-road. Accordingly, this reduces the level of internet use.
For a monthly fee per vehicle, a professional Wi-Fi provider provides access to a legally-compliant Wi-Fi hotspot and entertainment package. The user interface of the passenger end devices is optically attractive and user-friendly. What’s more, bus companies can have a personalised landing page which opens after logging in. An optional internet filter for the protection of minors is also available. Bus companies receive a stick which is updated every quarter of the year. It contains an entertainment package with several dozen films and five episodes each from two current television series. Besides this, it also opens up ten music channels with various programmes.
Around 40 to 50 passengers per bus can log in at any one time. An automatic allocation of the available data transfer rate between users is defined in advance.
The entertainment offering via the stick from the internet provider is only the first stage in the future of infotainment on-board buses. Holidaymakers or tour guides can also use the Coach MediaRouter to present their photos and videos from the holiday. They are saved on a USB stick, which then transfers the photos, videos and music to the router. This in turn shares the content with the passengers via a stream. The feature doesn’t only apply to entertainment and holiday memories, rather it can also be used for presentations and videos or other company information in the event of business-related journeys in the rental-bus market.
Bus companies can also use it to advertise their special offers or their complete catalogue, and even display their on-board food and beverages range. A further information and entertainment possibility is to provide passengers with tips on the destination of the journey or the country in which they are currently travelling.
Mercedes-Benz and Setra will be presenting the new Coach MediaRouter at the IAA in all of the touring coaches exhibited.
Composition seat cover: luxury leather
Equally a first at the IAA: Composition leather material is used on the headrests and seats instead of the classic leather covering. Composition consists of leather fibres, is grained, breathable and has all the positive properties of leather. Composition is much easer to clean and maintain, however, making it ideal for use on buses and coaches.
Composition is used by Mercedes-Benz and Setra to cover the headrest, backrest, seat cushion and the side elements of the seats. The material has, just like all other materials and leather, been subject to and has passed our own lab testing. The colours available are matched to the current material collection.
At the IAA, Mercedes-Benz and Setra will both be presenting the Composition leather material in a variety of variants. This ranges from the covering of headrests to leather/fabric combinations for touring coach seats, right up to the unique covering of the luxury Voyage Ambassador seating which feature multi-part leather/fabric combinations for seat surfaces and backrests, black backrests and seat pockets as well as design elements in “Mystic White”; these will be shown in a super high-deck Setra S 516 HDH.
Luxury head restraints: bespoke touring coach seats
Mercedes-Benz and Setra seats are tailored to the passengers: the touring coaches are optionally available with adjustable luxury head restraints for passengers. These increase the backrest height by 40 mm and are steplessly extendible by up to 85 mm and can thus be perfectly adapted to the individual passenger’s height. As the side bolsters of the head restraints are also adjustable, the head is optimally supported like in a comfortable wing chair during a nap. The new luxury head restraints have a maximum width of 260 mm and therefore only minimally restrict the field of vision of passengers at the rear.
Mercedes-Benz and Setra will be presenting the new luxury head restraints at the IAA in the Mercedes-Benz Tourismo M, Setra ComfortClass S 515 HD and Setra TopClass S 516 HDH touring coaches.
Mercedes-Benz Intouro: 10 000 vehicles on the road
Huge milestone for a long-term best-seller at the IAA: during the exhibition, Mercedes-Benz will be handing over the keys to the 10 000th Intouro. The highly economical and functional rural-service bus is a favourite for bus companies Europe-wide who keep a critical eye on their finances.
The Intouro is available as a two-axle model in three length variants. Drive is ensured by compact Mercedes-Benz OM 936 inline six-cylinder engines with 7.7 l displacement which deliver either 220 kW (299 hp) or 260 kW (354 hp) of power. A broad selection of transmissions is available: there is a six-speed manual transmission, a fully-automated Mercedes-Benz GO 250-8 PowerShift transmission or a torque converter automatic transmission – the Intouro is immensely flexible.
Another proof of this is the anniversary vehicle which features a lift at the central door, comfortable Travel Star Eco seating, folding seats in the special use area opposite the entrance, luggage stowage compartments with closed base, air-conditioning system and double-glazing. The 2017 model year of the Intouro can be identified by some visible changes: notably that the engine flap now bears just one ventilation grille on the right-hand side; the grille on the left-hand side is now omitted.
Mercedes-Benz Tourismo: the number one is celebrating its birthday
At the IAA in 2006, it celebrated its world premiere. Now, ten years on from that and perfectly in time for its 10th birthday, it will roll up to the IAA 2016 as the current European best-seller among touring coaches. The Mercedes-Benz Tourismo is a true long-term success story. Proof of this comes in the form of record sales figures of over 2000 units being sold last year – this economical and flexible touring coach is something not to be missed. A further reason for that is the broad range of models available, which includes four high-deck vehicles and the compact Tourismo K, not to mention the functional high-floor Tourismo RH touring coach.
At the IAA, the birthday boy is the Tourismo M, a 13 m long high-deck bus with three axles and sophisticated equipment for long-distance routes. Among the equipment are Travel Star Eco seats with Luxline upholstery and height-adjustable head restraints covered with the Composition leather fibre material. Meanwhile, the new Coach MediaRouter is on-board to provide internet access. 230-volt sockets on the seats ensure that passengers can plug in their own electronic devices.
Setra S 418 LE business: the giant for rural-service lines
Depending on the equipment, it has space for up to 100 passengers, with full seating it offers a maximum of 63 seats. It also offers barrier-free access thanks to the broad, low-floor area in front of both rear axles – if rural-service lines have great capacity requirements, the Setra S 418 LE business is truly in its element. The highly economical three-axle bus will be celebrating its premiere at the IAA.
It is predestined for public tenders. Flexibility is its thing: various door versions, single or double special use areas with a wheelchair or pushchair place opposite the second door, additional special use area in front of the second door, different types of seating and tyres, two power stages, four transmission variants – the 14.64 m long rural-service bus is a real all-rounder. At the IAA it will be shown with 57 seats as well as a special use area opposite the second door and additional folding seats.
Telediagnosis: 24h Service optimised, downtime minimised
The Omniplus service brand for buses from Mercedes-Benz and Setra will be presenting a bundle of new services at this year’s IAA. The new telediagnosis service will be in central focus. It optimises the 24h Service and can drastically reduce downtimes caused by breakdowns. The only prerequisite is that the bus is equipped with the FleetBoard telematics service.
If a Mercedes-Benz or Setra bus breaks down, the driver can transfer a whole host of data to 24h Service simply by pressing a button. Accordingly, the bus identifies itself, provides its precise location using geo-coordinates and not only transfers the current error code, but also any other saved codes.
The data is sent to the nearest Omniplus service centre where it is interpreted. This service offers a number of advantages: the driver doesn’t have to explain as much information over the phone, the exact location is known and misunderstandings can be avoided. Already before the service technician sets out to the scene, the error codes allow him/her to prepare appropriately for the breakdown case in question and, where possible, to take along any special tools and parts required.
If the data allows a serious downtime to be identified, Omniplus can, in discussion with the driver and the company, already arrange for a replacement vehicle to be made available. This prevents passengers from having to wait around unnecessarily for their journey to continue.
Bus Depot Management: tip-top fleet thanks to service direct from the manufacturer
Nobody is in a better position to maintain and repair buses than the manufacturer itself. This is the reason behind Omniplus developing Bus Depot Management. Authorised Omniplus service centres perform services at the customer’s own workshop. The offer is aimed at fleet operators. Its basis is formed by a long-term maintenance and repairs contract, for example as part of an invitation to tender.
Depending on the details of the contract, Omniplus covers the costs of the regular maintenance and repair work, including paint and body repairs on-site at the depot. Omniplus provides qualified members of staff for the workshop, precisely organises the spare parts store to suit requirements and looks after the procurement of spare parts.
Fleets experience a significant increase in vehicle availability as a result of Bus Depot Management, whilst also saving on unnecessary journeys, downtimes and administrative work. Buses are always looked after to the full and maintain a higher value.
Long-distance bus service: a tailored service for long-distance vehicles
Long-distance line buses are the bus world’s equivalent of long-distance runners. Per year, they cover an impressive six-figure number of kilometres. Thus, it’s all the more important that they are subject to a highly specialised service. Omniplus has therefore come up with the long-distance bus service which will initially only be offered for the German market. Around 90 service centres along the most important routes and at major hubs or significant terminals have since joined the initiative.
They offer specific services for long-distance buses. Included as standard are the regular long-distance bus check, checks of all important technical and safety functions on the bus, as well as washing the exterior, emptying the waste water tank, refilling the fresh water and stocking a greater number of parts and accessories for all common Mercedes-Benz and Setra long-distance buses. Depending on the service centre, additional services may also be on offer: interior cleaning, Omniplus GlassService and TireService, mobility concepts featuring collection and delivery service, parking spaces for long-distance buses as well as a replacement vehicle in the event of a breakdown.