Scotland‘s transport operator, Stagecoach, has announced that it will launch the world’s first full-sized, self-driving bus service next month.
The new service will feature five single-decker autonomous buses, each equipped with special sensors that will enable them to travel on pre-selected roads at speeds of up to 50 miles per hour.
Self-driving cars are widely anticipated to be a key player in the ongoing pursuit to alleviate traffic congestion and lower carbon emissions.
The implementation of automation in the realm of transportation is believed to yield significant benefits in these areas.
Stagecoach has said the self-driving buses will carry up to 10,000 passengers per week, operating on a 14-mile route between the Ferrytoll park-and-ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Park train.
The service will be staffed by a safety driver, who will sit in the driver’s seat to monitor the technology and a bus captain, who will help passengers with boarding, buying tickets and handling other queries.
Each bus will drive itself, but it will still be carrying two members of staff on board to ensure safety and provide customer service.
The Scottish Minister for Transport, Kevin Stewart, has hailed the forthcoming debut of Project CAVForth as a pivotal moment in Scotland’s drive to establish itself as a global leader in the field.
“This is an exciting milestone for this innovative and ambitious project and I very much look forward to seeing Project CAVForth take to the roads next month,” said Stewart.
He further noted that Scotland’s trunk road network offers a diverse range of environments ideal for extensive testing of autonomous vehicle technology and that the success of the project will reinforce Scotland’s position as a pioneering force in the realm of intelligent transportation.