Scotland got its first glimpse of Europe’s first full-sized autonomous bus at a major summit in Glasgow.
The demonstration, which took place as part of the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Summit (CAV Scotland), provided a first-hand view of some of the autonomous technology that will be used as part of the trial taking place across the Forth Road Bridge next year.
The Alexander Dennis Enviro200 bus demonstrated at CAV Scotland has already carried out extensive trials at Stagecoach’s depot in Manchester in the first part of the autonomous bus project.
Following this, Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis and Fusion Processing Ltd are now working with Transport Scotland, Bristol Robotics Laboratory and Napier University on Project CAVForth, which will see five autonomous buses operating between Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Park Train and Tram interchange in 2020.
These buses, which are currently in development, will see additional autonomous technology installed that enables them to run on selected roads.
The buses – which will be operated by Stagecoach East Scotland – will provide a service capable of carrying up to 42 passengers the 14 miles across the bridge, with capacity for up to 10,000 passengers a week.
The buses will operate to Level 4 standard, which means that a driver will remain on board during any journey in line with UK regulations.
Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach Group, said: “Stagecoach has always been at the forefront of innovation and we have a strong and successful track record in harnessing new technology to launch new products and break new ground. We’re therefore very pleased to be leading the way in Scotland’s first autonomous bus trial.
“Our industry, customers and employees can benefit hugely from autonomous technology as it can make services safer, more efficient and help to deliver better journeys.
“We’re also investing heavily in the skills and development of our people. Alongside new technology developments, our employees will continue to play a critical role in delivering sustainable mobility services that our customers trust and rely on.”