Page 10 - Commercial Vehicle Engineer - December 2021
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 F ull-sized SAE Level 4 autonomous buses will run on UK roads for the first time next
year along a 14-mile route in Scotland, it has been announced.
This is the next milestone for CAVForth,
a pilot project lead by Fusion Processing Ltd, in partnership with
Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis Ltd and Transport Scotland. The new service will comprise four Alexander Dennis Enviro200 single deck buses running a 14-mile route crossing the iconic Forth Road Bridge.
It will provide capacity for up to 10,000 passengers a week, connecting Ferrytoll Park & Ride in Fife with the Edinburgh Park transport hub and is expected to be popular with commuters, students, day trippers and tourists as well as novelty riders keen to say they have been driven by artificial intelligence (AI).
The four Enviro200 buses, which will feature a special new livery, are currently being fitted out with Fusion Processing’s automated drive system; CAVstar. CAVstar is an Automated Driving System (ADS) that combines Radar, LiDAR, optical cameras with high performance processing and AI to enable
the buses to operate at SAE Level 4 in the highly complex Operational Design Domain that includes motorways, A-roads, minor roads, bus lanes, roundabouts, junctions and traffic lights.
The vehicles are also being modified to have a second set of steering and braking systems, which are designed in as backup systems for increased safety. The automated driving system
is therefore expected to improve safety in addition to energy savings through optimised application of throttle and brakes. The buses are put through their paces with an array of virtual and track testing to ensure all systems are functioning as expected before on-road testing begins later this year.
“We are delighted to be leading on the world’s most complex and ambitious autonomous vehicle programme,” said Jim Hutchinson, Fusion Processing’s CEO. “CAVForth is an exciting pilot service and a great demonstration of our automated vehicle technology. The vehicles are fitted with CAVstar, our automated driving system which combines our own hardware and software to create, safe, full-sized buses, operating at SAE Level 4. We believe it will be the most comprehensive autonomous bus demonstration to date.”
Sam Greer, regional director for Stagecoach in Scotland, added that the plans is for the buses to be on the road in early summer next year. “The new service will provide a bus link between Fife and Edinburgh Park which currently does not exist, and we hope will encourage more people to ditch the car, skip traffic jams and enjoy a relaxed journey in a dedicated bus lane and with new innovative state of the art technology,” he said.
Paul Davies, Alexander Dennis’ president and managing director, said: “The trial of the UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus service gives us an outstanding opportunity to gain real-world experience. We are also working closely with our colleagues across NFI Group who are developing similar, promising projects.”

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