Last Thursday, Britain‘s first autonomous shuttle was launched in Cambridge, where it drove around the university campus as part of its first testing, METRO reports.
Although you’d expect that its autonomous function would be in the spotlight, there’s another feature which undoubtedly steals the show: its extremely ugly appearance.
Doesn’t it remind you of one of those insects with exoskeletons that are so terrifying to look at? Or maybe of a destructive and angry Transformer that could easily be named “Shuttle-tron”? And the British flag paint job doesn’t really help, does it?
The shuttle’s monstrous look didn’t go unnoticed on Twitter.
Ugly looking thing.
— Bazza (@Bazza73617427) May 27, 2021
Looks like it’s crashed already
— GoonerWA (@Zimex15) May 28, 2021
Could they have picked a less “busy” paint job? It’s a bus not a Great War dreadnought trying to avoid being torpedoed by U-boats. I’m sure they could have used a Union Flag design that wasn’t in the Navy Big Book of Dazzle!
— Dave Lauchlan (@davelauchlan) May 28, 2021
Why oh why do all autonomous vehicles get built to look like something spat out by a decepticon 🥴
— JJ. (@JackJack_IOT) May 27, 2021
It looks like an angry Pokemon.
— Dr. (not medical) Peradventure 😷 (@Peradventur3) May 27, 2021
While the shuttle’s front end is about as visually appealing as a monster bug, its design is also being criticized for how potentially dangerous it is.
So that when it inevitably hits you, it slices you up into so many pieces that you don’t have to suffer looking at it any longer
— The Secret Primary School Teacher (@SecretTeacher93) May 27, 2021
People are talking about the paint work, but what I think is nice is that they’ve made it extra safe by making every edge on the front of it sharp. It’s basically a driverless open baked bean tin on wheels!
— LukE (@lukecole78) May 28, 2021
Appearance aside, here are some details about the bus. The all-electric Auto-Shuttles, developed by the engineering firm Aurrigo, can travel at speeds of up to 32 kilometers (20 miles) per hour and have a range of 160 kilometers (200 miles). They can carry 10 passengers on a single journey.
The Auto-Shuttles are capable of driving themselves, but safety operators will be behind the wheel to take control at any point, if needed. The self-driving buses will drive alongside regular traffic and their trials will start in June.
Ultimately, this is a promising initiative for the UK to incorporate autonomous tech within its public transportation system, and we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. But one question remains: how are people going to trust an autonomous vehicle when it looks so aggressive and unwelcoming?
Do EVs excite your electrons? Do ebikes get your wheels spinning? Do self-driving cars get you all charged up?
Then you need the weekly SHIFT newsletter in your life. Click here to sign up.
Get the Shift newsletter
Get the most important mobility news in your inbox each week.Follow @shift_tnw