Europe’s first full-sized self-driving bus will make its debut next week ahead of its trial over the Forth Road Bridge next year.
The bus will offer rides to people attending the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) transport trade show in Glasgow. The autonomous bus will take passengers around the SEC car park in a prototype Stagecoach single-decker vehicle. The bus has already been tested in a Manchester bus depot.
During the proper road trial, the date of which has not yet been announced, the bus will carry passengers on a 14-mile route between Ferrytoll park and ride site at the Fife end of the public-transport-only bridge and the Edinburgh Park train/tram interchange.
A driver will be on board the bus as a safety precaution and it will involve a fleet of buses similar to the prototype. The organisers of CAV, which takes place on the 13th-14th of November, said it was the “ideal platform” to help the Scottish Government’s Transport Scotland agency plan the development of the technology.
CAV event director Adrian Tatum said: “Having the prototype automated bus system at the event will give a real insight into what it will look like.”
A spokeswoman for Stagecoach said: “Fusion, the partner leading on the technology side, will be doing demos of the bus in the SEC car park which people attending the conference can book onto.”
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Compared to the prototype self-driving bus, the “Project CAV Forth” buses will have more sensors and software to enable them to respond quickly to fast traffic.
Transport secretary Michael Matheson said: “I’m particularly interested in seeing the demo of the prototype automated bus system, which is a precursor to the vehicle that will be used in Project CAV Forth.
“It’s the type of innovation that shows Scotland is very much open for business when it comes to trialling these vehicles. Our trunk road network can provide a wide range of environments as a diverse testing ground.
Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths said: “Our industry, customers and employees can benefit hugely from autonomous technology as it can make services safer, more efficient and help to deliver better journeys.”