Transportation operator, Stagecoach, has introduced the UK’s first full-sized autonomous buses in Edinburgh. The buses operate on a 14-mile route from Ferrytoll park-and-ride in Fife to Edinburgh Park station, crossing the Forth Road Bridge.
While they are called “driverless,” they have two staff members on board. One employee sits in the driver’s seat to oversee the technology, while the other, known as the “bus captain,” assists passengers with boarding and ticket purchases. Stagecoach claims that the five single-decker buses can carry up to 10,000 passengers per week. Equipped with sensors, the vehicles can travel on predetermined roads at a maximum speed of 50 mph.
The AB1 service, has become the first official autonomous bus route in the UK, as part of Project CAVForth. The project is backed by the UK government and involves Stagecoach, Fusion Processing Ltd, Transport Scotland, Alexander Dennis, Edinburgh Napier University, and Bristol Robotics Laboratory.
The Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV buses are equipped to handle complex traffic manoeuvres, including roundabouts, traffic lights, and weaving between motorway lanes. The project has recruited 20 staff from Stagecoach East Scotland’s existing driving team. Carla Stockton-Jones, managing director of Stagecoach UK, expressed excitement about the launch and pride in being at the forefront of transport innovation.