UK: Passenger-carrying trials of full-sized autonomous buses is due to take place in Edinburgh from 2020.
Government research funding body Innovate UK is contributing £4·4m towards the project, with additional funding coming from operator Stagecoach East Scotland, Transport Scotland, bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, technology company Fusion Processing and mobility services specialist ESP Group. Edinburgh Napier University and the University of the West of England are also taking part.
Alexander Dennis is currently working on an autonomous ADL Enviro200 vehicle at its Guildford site. The bus is expected to be tested in autonomous mode within the depot next year, before carrying passengers in 2020.
The trials would eventually see five autonomous vehicles operating on the 23 km route between Edinburgh Park railway station and Ferrytoll Park & Ride facility in Fife, offering a service every 20 min. Each 11·8 m long bus would have capacity for 42 passengers.
The buses would run in mixed traffic and on a dedicated public transport lane across the Forth Road Bridge. To comply with regulations, a driver must remain on board during all journeys.