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Self-driving bus service to launch in Scotland

autonomous bus scotland
Image credit: CAVForth

A self-driving bus service will depart for its first public passenger service shift next week in Scotland in a major milestone for UK autonomous driving.

From 15 May, five autonomous buses from the CAVForth project will rotate a bus route from Ferrytoll Park & Ride in Fife to Edinburgh Park interchange every 30 minutes.

The self-driving buses on the 14-mile Scotland route will travel on A-roads, motorways and private land reaching speeds of up to 50mph.

Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart said: “We want Scotland to continue to be at the forefront in the development of connected and autonomous vehicles and the start of this live trial will really help the country establish its credentials on the world stage.”

For now, like other autonomous vehicles, the CAVForth buses will require a safety driver to be present in case of emergency.

Fusion Processing leads the CAVForth project, along with partners Stagecoach, Transport Scotland, Alexander Dennis, Edinburgh Napier University and Bristol Robotics Laboratory.

Anthony Pipe, professor of robotics and autonomous systems at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, said: “The short-term benefits of vehicle autonomy in providing safer and more energy-efficient travel will be illustrated by this project and, in the longer term, we believe that it will contribute significantly to transformations in the way we achieve mobility in our society.”

CAVForth’s buses picked up £10.4m from the UK government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in February. The grant came as part of an £81m government fund to accelerate the development of self-driving transport technology.