The UK’s first full-size autonomous bus gave its first public demonstration at the Coach & Bus UK show at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham, where it operated in SAE Level 4.
Members of the public were invited to embark on the 40-foot Alexander Dennis Enviro200 bus and experience the demonstration from onboard, as it traveled autonomously from a mock-up bus wash to a fueling station before disembarking at a bus stop.
Fusion Processing, together with Alexander Dennis and Stagecoach Group, developed the UK’s first full-size autonomous bus to prove the technology prior to embarking on CAVForth, an Innovate UK-funded pilot.
The trial, which goes live mid-2020, will include five autonomous single-decker vehicles, which will navigate a 15-mile route between Fife and Edinburgh, crossing the Forth Road Bridge.
The buses, operated by Stagecoach East Scotland, will operate autonomously to Level 4 standard, which means that a driver must remain on board during any journey, in line with UK regulations.
The autonomous buses are capable of carrying up to 42 passengers, and will provide a service covering 15 miles. With buses scheduled every 20 minutes, this could enable an estimated 10,000 weekly journeys.
The vehicle’s autonomy is provided by Fusion Processing’s CAVstar control and sensing system, integrated with the vehicle’s steering, throttle and braking systems.
The system employs multiple sensor methodology, including radar, LIDAR, optical cameras and ultrasound, along with satellite navigation, to detect and avoid objects in all weather, day and night, and plan an optimum path for the vehicle, accordingly.