Fusion Processing Ltd., in partnership with Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis Ltd., and Transport Scotland, revealed the first glimpse of the new special livery for the autonomous buses launching in Scotland in 2022.
It is the next key milestone in CAVForth, a pilot project lead by Fusion Processing Ltd., which will see full-sized SAE Level 4 autonomous buses running on UK roads for the first time next year. The new service will be made up of four Alexander Dennis Enviro200 single deck buses running a 14-mile route crossing the iconic Forth Road Bridge. It will provide capacity for up to 10,000 passengers a week, connecting Ferrytoll Park & Ride in Fife with the Edinburgh Park transport hub and is expected to be popular with commuters, students, day trippers, and tourists, as well as novelty riders keen to be first to say they have been driven by Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The new service will make it easy for people to switch to public transport by providing a brand new bus route in the heart of East Scotland. It comes off the back of the COP26 climate change summit where bus operator Stagecoach said that the fastest way to make progress towards the UK’s net zero ambitions is by people switching from making car journeys and instead travelling by public transport, cycling, or walking.
The four Enviro200 buses, which will feature the special new livery, are currently being fitted out with Fusion Processing Ltd.’s automated drive system; CAVstar. CAVstar is a ground-breaking Automated Driving System (ADS) that combines Radar, LiDAR, and optical cameras with high performance processing and AI to enable the buses to operate at SAE Level 4 in the highly complex Operational Design Domain that includes motorways, A-roads, minor roads, bus lanes, roundabouts, junctions, and traffic lights. The vehicles are also being modified to have a second set of steering and braking systems which are designed in as backup systems for increased safety. The automated driving system is therefore expected to improve safety in addition to energy savings through optimized application of throttle and brakes. The buses are put through their paces with an array of virtual and track testing to ensure all systems are functioning as expected before on-road testing begins later this year.