A transport event in Scotland last week saw the demonstration of the country’s first full sized autonomous bus.
The demonstration, which took place at the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Summit (CAV Scotland) in Glasgow, allowed attendees to view the Alexander Dennis Enviro2000 autonomous bus before a trial of five vehicles rolls out between Edinburgh and Fife in 2020. The trial, Project CAVForth, is expected to serve up to 10,000 passengers per week.
Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “I really enjoyed attending the CAV Scotland event and hearing about the developments in this exciting and fast-moving industry over the past twelve months. I was particularly pleased to experience the demo of the prototype automated bus system as it’s the type of innovation that shows Scotland is very much open for business when it comes to trialling these types of vehicles. Our trunk road network can provide a wide range of environments as a diverse testing ground, and the groundbreaking and globally significant Project CAVForth will really help Scotland establish its credentials on the world stage.”
Project CAVForth, which is jointly operated by bus operator Stagecoach, manufacturer Alexander Dennis and technology provider Fusion Processing Ltd in partnership with Transport Scotland, Bristol Robotics Laboratory and Edinburgh Napier University, will launch as a pilot in 2020 following a series of trials conducted at Stagecoach’s Manchester depot. Each autonomous bus, which will still be staffed by a driver in accordance with UK regulations, will be capable of carrying up to 42 passengers at a time across the 1.56-mile Forth Road Bridge.
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.”