Autonomous buses will carry an estimated 10,000 passengers per week across the Forth Road Bridge in a world first for Scotland.
The five buses, operated by Stagecoach at level-four autonomy – meaning a driver must remain on board – are expected to go into service in 2020. They will each carry up to 42 passengers 14 miles across the Forth Bridge between Fife and Edinburgh, running every 20 minutes.
“The Forth has been at the centre of engineering innovation over three centuries and it is fitting that it will be central to this next innovation in transport,” said Scotland's transport secretary Michael Matheson.
The project is a collaboration between Stagecoach, Transport Scotland, Alexander Dennis (ADL), Fusion Processing, ESP Group, Edinburgh Napier University and the University of the West of England, using £4.35m funding from government agency Innovate UK.
The partners said: “We’re delighted to have been awarded this funding and we are excited to further test the potential for autonomous technology in the future within public transport using full-size single-deck buses, which so far has not been achieved anywhere else in the world.”
Stagecoach, ADL and Fusion Processing are working on the vehicles at ADL’s site in Guildford, and their autonomy will be tested at a Stagecoach depot.
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