The first automated shuttle system in any of the national parks will soon arrive at Yellowstone. By automated we mean driverless, or at least, not driven by a human or any of the animals at Yellowstone.

If this is not Harry Potter magic then you might wonder how the system operates. Early automated systems worked by placing a system in the road that the vehicle's computer could track. But technology has moved on from there.

The stripes on the side and in the center of the roads will be scanned by the computer's laser systems. That will keep the buses centered as they drive.

GPS will tell the computer where it is on its route. It will also tell the computer where the stops are.

The only question I have from here is, how does the bus know when it is okay to start moving? In the past, human bus drivers would wait until everybody was seated. These questions are answered when you think of the automated trams that are used every day at airports.

What if there is an emergency on the bus, like a heart attack? I'm sure the bus has sensors to tell it if an animal or some other obstruction has stepped out in front of it.

This is a test system to see how it operates in the real world, outside of the lab and test grounds. There are bound to be problems, but that is what the engineers are looking for.

The bus route will not belong. The map below shows the few places these busses will go.


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