The first British autonomous shuttle was launched in Cambridge, where it drove around campus as part of its trials.
While its standalone function might have been expected to be the center of attention, there is another feature that undoubtedly grabs attention: its extremely ugly appearance, according to British media and social media bloggers.
“Wait – why does it look like he just bumped his head into a wall?” writes @cjayanetti.
According to the British, who share photos on blogs, the car reminds of “one of those insects with exoskeletons” that are so scary to look at, as well as the cartoon Transformers.
While the front of the shuttle is as visually appealing as a monster beetle, its protruding design has also been criticized for how potentially dangerous it is – the body of the bus is covered in sharp corners that can cause serious injury.
“Imagine him cutting you into so many pieces with his sharp corners that you no longer have to suffer looking at his appearance,” commented one of the commenters under the nickname @ SecretTeacher93.
The all-electric Auto-Shuttles, developed by engineering firm Aurrigo, can travel at speeds up to 32 kilometers (20 miles) per hour and have a maximum range of 160 km on a single charge. They can carry 10 passengers in one trip.
Three shuttles took part in the first tests: they delivered passengers on a route about 3 km long from Madingley Road Park to the neighboring western campus of Cambridge University.
Shuttle vehicles can drive themselves, but safety operators will be behind the wheel to take over whenever needed. Autonomous buses will operate on roads with normal traffic.