The big yellow school bus, with its plastic seats, rubbery smell, and cool-kids-in-the-back social hierarchies, hasn’t gotten a true update in decades. What will happen to such an old-fashioned vehicle when our streets become flooded with driverless cars? We know how service vehicles like delivery vans and city buses will be affected by autonomous tech. What about school buses, which are so vital and also so fraught with concerns over safety?
That’s the question the Seattle-based design firm Teague recently set out to answer. Hannah
is the firm’s conceptual design for an autonomous school bus–an internal project that presents a radically different vision for how kids might get to school. Say goodbye to the bus stop; each six-passenger vehicle picks up and drops off every child at their front door, ensuring their identity with facial recognition. The vehicle’s AI changes its route based on traffic or other roadblocks, even rejiggering the order in which it drops kids off if, for instance, their parent is running late. And during the rest of the day, each Hannah vehicle can be used to deliver packages, food, or donations, earning school districts extra cash.