The UK’s first ‘driverless’ buses are set to hit the roads in Scotland as they begin ‘live road testing’.
Five single decker autonomous buses will begin a two-week testing period of the CAVForth pilot service in Edinburgh and Fife on Tuesday, with the aim of a summer launch.
The vehicles, operated by Stagecoach East Scotland, will travel without passengers between Ferry Toll Park and Ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Park train and tram interchange.
The buses are fitted with Fusion Processing’s ground-breaking sensor and control technology, CAVstar, which enables them to run on pre-selected roads without a driver having to intervene or take control.
On-road testing begins following successful depot-based trials, track testing and virtual simulation.
Sam Greer, regional director for Stagecoach in Scotland, said: “Stagecoach is continuing to look for ways to improve the service it offers to customers, including through major investment in new technology, such as the CAVForth pilot.
“This is a hugely exciting project for Scotland, and we are pleased to be starting live testing on roads this week.
“This is a major step forward in our journey to fully launch the UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus service and will provide easy access to a brand-new bus route in the heart of East Scotland.”
The service is set for a live launch in summer 2022, with 20 ‘Autonomous Bus Professionals’ to be recruited by Stagecoach.
This will involve experienced bus drivers monitoring the autonomous system, while a bus ‘Captain’ moves around the vehicle as the computer does the driving.
Chris Gall, ADL Group Engineering Director, said: “The start of on-route testing is a milestone for our autonomous bus project.
“In partnership with Stagecoach, Fusion Processing and Transport Scotland, Project CAVForth helps us to explore new technologies that will make buses even safer and even more efficient.
“As we move towards passenger services later in the year, the project will be a landmark demonstration of future technologies in transport.”