CAVForth autonomous bus service to launch in May

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The self-driving service will add capacity for around 10,000 extra passenger journeys across the Forth Road Bridge every week

The CAVForth autonomous bus service in East Scotland will begin next month, using five Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV buses after the successful completion of an extensive testing programme and registration of the bus service by Stagecoach.

CAVForth is a joint project of Fusion Processing, Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis, Transport Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University and Bristol Robotics Lab which is part funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. It is one of the most complex projects of its kind worldwide and will be the first registered service in the UK to use full-sized autonomous buses.

The fleet of five Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV vehicles will cover a 14-mile route, in mixed traffic, at up to 50mph across the Forth Road Bridge. The service will operate to a ‘frequent’ timetable with the capacity for around 10,000 journeys per week and will have two members of staff on board, a ‘safety driver’ in the driver’s seat to monitor the technology, and a ‘captain’ in the saloon to check tickets and answer customers’ questions.

Scotland’s Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart said: “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. Our trunk road network can provide a wide range of environments as a diverse testing ground, and the ground-breaking and globally significant Project CAVForth will really help Scotland establish its credentials on the world stage.”

Jamie Wilson, Head of Concepts & Advanced Engineering at Alexander Dennis, said: “This is a thrilling milestone for this ambitious project which we are delighted to be delivering with our partners. Our Enviro200AV autonomous buses will demonstrate latest innovation in vehicle technology, and we are delighted that passengers travelling between Fife and Edinburgh will be able to experience this for themselves when the service launches next month.”

Carla Stockton-Jones, UK Managing Director for Stagecoach said: “We are excited to introduce the UK’s first autonomous bus fleet in East Scotland which is also home to our headquarters and where it all began over 40 years ago. We are proud to be part of this innovative project and marks a significant milestone for public transport and look forward to welcoming our customers on board in the coming months.”