Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) announced that live testing of Europe’s public autonomous bus pilot begins this week in Scotland ahead of passenger services starting later this year.
Bus operator Stagecoach will be conducting on-road testing of the autonomous buses over the next two weeks in partnership with Fusion Processing, ADL, and Transport Scotland.
No passengers are carried in these tests, which are in preparation for the launch of the CAVForth pilot service later this year.
“We are delighted to be leading the world’s most complex and ambitious autonomous vehicle program,” said Jim Hutchinson, CEO, Fusion Processing Ltd. “CAVForth will provide a useful service to local people as well as being a great demonstration of Fusion’s automated vehicle technology. The buses are fitted with CAVstar, our automated driving system which combines our own hardware and software to create safe, full-size buses, operating at SAE Level 4. On road testing is an exciting milestone in the development of autonomous commercial vehicles and we look forward to welcoming passengers onboard in a few months’ time.”
The Project CAVForth pilot, which is jointly funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) will see five autonomous ADL Enviro200 single deck buses operating at SAE Level 4 over the Forth Road Bridge between Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Park train and tram interchange.
The buses are fitted with Fusion Processing’s sensor and control technology, CAVStar, that enables them to run on pre-selected roads without the safety driver having to take control.
The buses will provide a service capable of carrying up to 36 passengers at a time over the 14 miles across the bridge, with capacity for over 10,000 passengers a week.
The on-road testing in Scotland follows successful depot-based trials, track testing, and virtual simulation where the buses have been put through their paces to improve the autonomous drive systems.