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The UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus will start testing in Scotland this week.

The bus, operated by Stagecoach in partnership with Fusion Processing, Alexander Dennis, and Transport Scotland will be carrying out the on-road testing (sans passengers) over the next fortnight.

The testing is in preparation for the launch of the CAVForth pilot which will see five single-deck autonomous buses operating over the Forth Road Bridge (next to the iconic red rail bridge) between Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Park Train and Tram interchange. 

The on-road testing follows successful depot-based trials, track testing, and virtual simulation.

“The start of on-route testing is a milestone for our autonomous bus project. In partnership with Stagecoach, Fusion Processing and Transport Scotland, Project CAVForth helps us to explore new technologies that will make buses even safer and even more efficient,” says Chris Gall, ADL Group Engineering Director.

“As we move towards passenger services later in the year, the project will be a landmark demonstration of future technologies in transport.”

To help support the delivery of Project CAVForth, Transport Scotland recently opened a section of Actively Managed Hard Shoulder for all buses on the M8 eastbound. It will help to reduce journey times and improve journey time reliability for all buses of 24 seats or more on approach to Edinburgh.

As part of project CAVForth, around 500 members of the public have helped with implementing the new autonomous bus service, providing feedback on what would make them feel comfortable and confident when travelling. Based on the feedback, the partners have developed a vision for the new autonomous vehicles, which includes making sure future autonomous bus services still have a member of staff on board.

“This is a hugely exciting project for Scotland and we are pleased to be starting live testing on roads today. This is a major step forward in our journey to fully launch the UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus service and will provide easy access to a brand-new bus route in the heart of East Scotland,” says Sam Greer, Regional Director for Stagecoach in Scotland.

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