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Bismarck to consider testing driverless bus

BISMARCK -- City officials are considering adding a driverless bus to the Capital Area Transit fleet as part of a pilot program testing the use of autonomous vehicle technology on Bismarck streets.

The initial concept is to run a route between downtown and the Capitol grounds, Bismarck City Engineer Gabe Schell said. The exact streets for this route would be developed with the advice of the vendor. The pilot program would measure impacts on city planning, design and infrastructure maintenance.

If approved, the bus would be rented for six months from March through October 2019, Schell said. Total cost would be in the range of $75,000 to $85,000 to rent the bus, with the city required to chip in 20 percent of the funding.

In the city commission agenda, Schell wrote that a fixed route, such as the one run by Capital Area Transit, allows for autonomous vehicles to accurately map their path and use multiple systems to sense other vehicles or objects as it moves along the path.