SCOTTISH BUSES IN AUTONOMOUS TRIAL

ABC (Australia) - - NEWS -

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.

2021 TAR­GET

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 DETAIL

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.

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