Fusion Processing has revealed that an autonomous public transport project will start on-road testing this week.
Fusion Processing has collaborated with Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis Ltd, Transport Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University, and Bristol Robotics Laboratory for the CAVForth project which started in 2020.
The pilot project will see five single-deck SAE Level 4 autonomous Dennis Enviro200 buses rolling over the Firth of Forth via the 1.5-mile-long (2.5-km) Forth Road Bridge to carry passengers between Ferrytool Park & Ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Train and Tram interchange.
Buses can accommodate 36 passengers along the new 14-mile (22.5-km) service route, for a potential capacity of 10,000 commuters, students, day-trippers, and tourists per week.
They have AI control technologies for Level 4 autonomy in complex traffic scenarios including motorways, major and minor roads, bus lanes, roundabouts, junctions, and traffic lights.
Each bus will have a safety driver on board. No passengers will be allowed on the buses during the two-week on-road testing period.
“We are delighted to be leading the world’s most complex and ambitious autonomous vehicle program,” said Fusion Processing CEO, Jim Hutchinson. “CAVForth will provide a useful service to local people as well as being a great demonstration of Fusion’s automated vehicle technology. The buses are fitted with CAVstar, our automated driving system which combines our own hardware and software to create, safe, full-size buses, operating at SAE Level 4. On road, testing is an exciting milestone in the development of autonomous commercial vehicles, and we look forward to welcoming passengers on board in a few months’ time.”
The project’s budget is around £6 million (about US$7.6 million) and is part-funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in partnership with Innovate UK, and is part of the UK government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund.