Stagecoach has announced that the UK’s first full-size autonomous bus has carried passengers for the first time during ongoing testing in East Scotland.

The CAVForth project will introduce a frequent service using full-sized autonomous buses, with the capacity for around 10,000 journeys per week.

The fleet will include five Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV vehicles, which will travel at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour on a 14-mile route across the Forth Road Bridge from Ferrytoll Park & Ride in Fife to Edinburgh Park Transport Interchange.

UK Autonomous Bus
22 passengers experienced the UK’s first full-size autonomous bus for the first time as part of the testing process

As part of the testing process, Stagecoach recently invited a group of 22 passengers from its Co-Design Panel to travel on the route ahead of the full public launch of the service this spring.

Louise Simpson, Operations Director and CAVForth Lead Project Manager for Stagecoach, said:

We are really excited to have reached this next major milestone in our project plan to deliver the UK’s first full sized autonomous bus, which has seen us successfully carry a group of passengers on one of the new buses. Until today, only project team members had been able to trial the autonomous service so it’s great that our Co-Design Panel have had this opportunity and we welcome any views they have to ensure we deliver a great, inclusive, and accessible service to our customers when we launch in the spring.

This project is part funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.

It consists of a partnership between Stagecoach, Fusion Processing Ltd, Alexander Dennis, Transport Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University, Bristol Robotics Lab and the University of the West of England.

Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise Ivan McKee said:

This is another hugely significant step forward for the CAVForth project that brings us closer to these autonomous vehicles entering service.

It has been really encouraging to watch the project develop through the various steps, from early testing and demonstrations through to carrying of passengers along the route for the first time.

Our trunk road network can provide a wide range of environments as a diverse testing ground, and the ground-breaking and globally significant Project CAVForth will really help Scotland establish its credentials on the world stage.


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