Coronavirus-fighting smart bus rolled out in China

By Lucy Ingham

A smart bus equipped with a slew of hi-tech features has been launched in Shanghai, China, in a bid to combat the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Dubbed the Healthcare Bus, it has been developed by Sunwin Bus Corporation, and is designed to autonomously and non-invasively screen passengers and they board, as well as actively sterilising the vehicle’s interior.

Facial recognition powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and an infrared thermal imaging camera have both been installed next to the ticketing machine, which alert the driver when a person with a fever boards, and also identifies those not wearing face masks.

Sunwin claims that because the process is completely automated and contact-free, it does not slow down the boarding process, even during busy commuter times. However, the company has not said what steps the bus diver would take should a person with a fever be identified.

smart bus coronavirus china

Away from passenger identification, the bus is also equipped with UV lighting in its air ducts, which are designed to sterilise and kill the virus. The company says that this new lighting can, with assistance of an enhanced air filtration system, sterilise the entire bus completely within 20 minutes.

The bus also features an automated fire and explosives detection system beneath the front and rear doors, which can identify any objects that could combust when they are brought onboard, and automatically alert the driver and local police.

smart bus coronavirus china

Using a smart bus to fight a resurgence of coronavirus in China

While the outbreak of the coronavirus in China has stablilised, with the number of new cases having dropped below 50 a day since 8 March, there are fears that the virus could see a resurgence as strict social distancing measures are lifted and people return to work.

Sunwin believes that its smart Healthcare Bus, several of which have already been deployed in Shanghai, could play a key role in preventing a resurgence of the coronavirus in China.

“With much of China returning to work, urban public transportation has seen a surge in passengers. This increase marks public transport as the ‘new frontier’ in the fight to contain the spread of the virus,” said WeiFeng Kan, chief engineer of Sunwin.

“With a focus on using innovative technical solutions to create social value, Sunwin is dedicated to upholding public safety.

“Through utilising facial recognition, smart-temperature reading, UV lighting and an automatic gas detection system, we have launched the ‘Healthcare Bus’ solution to ensure passenger safety in a non-invasive way.”

Read more: Temperature-checking robots to combat coronavirus in China