ADL AND STAGECOACH IN TRIAL AUTONOMOUS FULL-SIZED BUS
Scotland is to host the trial of the first autonomous full-sized passenger bus fleet. The trial – to begin during 2019 – will include five autonomous single deck vehicles which will run between Fife and Edinburgh. 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 journey in line with UK regulations.
Funding of £4.35million has been awarded by the UK Government through Innovate UK with additional investment from operator Stagecoach, Transport Scotland, vehicle manufacturer ADL, technology company Fusion Processing Ltd, and mobility services specialist ESP Group.
The trial of the first autonomous full-sized passenger bus fleet is made possible after 'Innovate UK' announced funding of £4.35million to support a successful bid and additional investment from bus operator Stagecoach along with partners Transport Scotland, Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL), Fusion Processing Ltd, ESP Group. The Edinburgh Napier University and University of the West of England are contributing to this trail project.
Once complete, the 11.8m ADL Enviro200 buses will operate between Ferrytoll Park & Ride facility in the town Fife and the Edinburgh Park train and tram interchange. The bus 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. The autonomous buses will provide a service capable of carrying up to 42 passengers 14 miles across the Forth Bridge to Edinburgh Park train and tram interchange. With buses every 20 minutes this could provide an estimated 10,000 weekly journeys. Work on the project is expected to get underway during the second quarter of next year at ADL’s manufacturing depot in Guildford with the first vehicles expected to go into service during 2020.
The Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity Michael Matheson said: “The deployment of these vehicles in Scotland will bring transformative change to the way we travel and work, as well as having a positive impact on the economy, the environment and safety.“ Announcing the funding, UK Government Business Secretary Greg Clark said: “The UK is building on its automotive heritage and strengths to develop the new vehicles and technologies and from 2021 the public will get to experience the future for themselves.”