SCOTTISH BUSES IN AUTONOMOUS TRIAL
EDINBURGH’S Forth Bridge – a UNESCO World Heritage site – is to play host to a high-capacity autonomous bus pilot service in 2019, the UK Government announced.
The project will convert five full-size Alexander Dennis (ADL) single-decker manually driven busses into autonomous vehicles and these ‘self-driving’ units will provide a service capable of carrying up to 42 passengers 14 miles across the Forth Bridge to Edinburgh Park Train and Tram interchange, it states.
The buses – operated by Stagecoach East Scotland – will be used autonomously to Level 4 standard, which means that a driver must remain on board during any
“Autonomous vehicles will open up and provide transport services for those who struggle to access both private and public transport.”
journey in line with UK regulations, explains ADL.
With buses every 20 minutes this could provide an estimated 10,000 weekly journeys and support the case for rolling out similar services across the UK, it explains.
Known as Project CAV Forth, and led by Fusion Processing, it will bring together organisations from across the UK to develop the high capacity autonomous bus pilot.
Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “Self-driving cars will revolutionise the way we move goods and people around the UK. These Industrial Strategy projects and investments are exciting examples of our long-term plan in action - ensuring we build on our strengths to reap the rewards as we accelerate towards our ambition to have autonomous vehicles on UK roads by 2021.”
“Autonomous vehicles and their technology will not only revolutionise how we travel, it will open up and improve transport services for those who struggle to access both private and public transport.
“All the projects will include social behavioural research to further explore how driverless technology can seamlessly integrate into society, with the findings applied to the development for future autonomous service models.”
In Budget 2018, £90 million (A$158.2 million) investment was announced for the future of mobility zones for trialling new transport modes and services.
These projects are funded through the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Intelligent Mobility Fund.
Project CAV Forth’s funding of £4.35 million (A$7.65 million) was awarded by the UK Government through Innovate UK with additional investment from: operator Stagecoach, Transport Scotland; ADL; technology company Fusion Processing Ltd; and mobility services specialist ESP Group.
Once complete, the 11.8m ADL Enviro200 vehicles will operate between Ferrytoll Park & Ride facility in Fife and the Edinburgh Park train and tram interchange. The buses will use both on-road and hard shoulder running, and will use the dedicated public transport corridor across the Forth Road Bridge that allows buses and taxis to use dedicated lanes between the M9 near Newbridge and Halbeath in Fife, explains ADL.
Work on the project is expected to get underway during the second quarter of 2019 at ADL’s manufacturing depot in Guildford with the first vehicles expected to go into service during 2020, the company states.
Above: The Scotland high-capacity autonomous vehicle trial is set to start some time in 2019.