Berkshire Hathaway-backed BYD Co. has debuted its first autonomous driving bus.
The bus is being tested in actual scenarios for All Nippon Airways at the Haneda Airport in Japan, and the airport becomes the country’s first international airport to conduct a pilot operation for an autonomous bus.
The test uses BYD’s K9 bus, which can carry up to 57 people.
During this trial operation, the airport staff will do near to Level 3 autonomous driving tests on the bus in a specific area of the airport to collect essential data to help the developers better improve the autonomous driving functions and improve the vehicle’s operating efficiency in the future.
Jointly carried out by BYD, ANA, BOLDLY, and Advanced Smart Mobility, the project has been conducted three rounds of tests from 2018 to 2020.
ANA plans to put the bus into trial operation in 2021 and implement the autonomous driving bus into a daily operation to fully achieve its goal to build a “Simple & Smart” airport by 2025.
“BYD is very honored to join hands with ANA to carry out this comprehensive autonomous driving test trial at the Haneda Airport,” Liu Xueliang, General Manager of BYD Asia-Pacific Auto Sales Division, said. “I firmly believe that this four-party cooperation will set an excellent example for a smart and environmentally friendly airport of Japan to give people a smarter, safer, and cleaner travel experience in the future.”
“At ANA, we are constantly looking for ways to harness the latest technology to enhance operations and efficiency,” said Masaki Yokai, Senior Vice President of ANA. “In addition to marking a significant step forward for airports, fully electric autonomous buses will result in fewer emissions and decreased carbon footprints at airports. We are optimistic that these trials will give us the information we need to continue improving these technologies and will allow ANA to maintain its leadership in autonomous innovation.”
BYD and Berkshire Hathaway
In 2008, Berkshire Hathaway bet on BYD’s potential, purchasing 225 million shares for $232 million. It’s an investment that has paid off handsomely. Berkshire’s original investment of $232 million has grown in value to $5.897 billion as of December 31, 2020.
© 2021 David Mazor
Disclosure: David Mazor is a freelance writer focusing on Berkshire Hathaway. The author is long in Berkshire Hathaway and BYD, and this article is not a recommendation on whether to buy or sell a stock. The information contained in this article should not be construed as personalized or individualized investment advice. Past performance is no guarantee of future results.