The first large autonomous bus in the UK will hit the road this week.
Equipped with sensors and control technology from Bristol’s Fusion Processing, Stagecoach buses will go through two weeks of road tests in Scotland in preparation for the launch of the CAVForth pilot service in late summer.
The project, which also includes Edinburgh-based Alexander Dennis and Transport Scotland as partners, is co-funded by the UK Government’s Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV). Five one-stop buses will operate at four SAEs across the Forth Road Bridge, between Fife’s Ferrytoll Park and Ride and Edinburgh Park’s train and tram interchange.
The buses are equipped with CAVstar technology from Fusion Processing, allowing them to travel on pre-selected roads without the safety driver having to intervene or take control. The buses will provide a service capable of carrying up to 36 passengers on the 14-mile route, with a capacity of over 10,000 passengers per week.
Technology that changes everything
Passenger-free road testing follows successful deposit-based tests, runway tests and simulations. The buses will run on the “actively managed” hard shoulder as they travel east on the M8.
When the service starts, experienced bus drivers will monitor the autonomous system with a “captain” who will walk through the lounge, discussing the service with passengers and answering any questions they may have, demonstrating what a service might be like. future when staff members may leave the cab while the computer is running.
“The beginning of road testing is a milestone for our standalone bus project,” said Chris Gall, ADL Group’s director of engineering. “In partnership with Stagecoach, Fusion Processing and Transport Scotland, the CAVForth Project is helping us explore new technologies that will make buses even safer and more efficient. As we move to passenger services later in the year, the project will be a landmark demonstration of future transportation technologies. ”
Jim Hutchinson, CEO of Fusion Processing, said: “CAVForth will provide a useful service to locals as well as an excellent demonstration of Fusion automatic vehicle technology. we will receive the passengers on board in a few months. “