First driveless buses to hit the roads in Scotland from May 15

There may not be a driver on the bus the next time you board a bus in east Scotland.

From May 15, a fleet of five single-deck driveless buses will be plying the roads in the area, announced Stagecoach, UK’s largest bus and coach operator in a statement on Tuesday.

The service will run across the iconic Forth Road Bridge – one of Scotland’s major landmarks and a Unesco World Heritage Site.

The project, named CAVForth, is also the “first registered bus service in the UK to use full-sized autonomous buses”, said the statement.

Fully driveless cars are not legally permitted in the UK currently, according to The Guardian. A safety driver is required at all times in all autonomous vehicles, although the government is working on an updated legal and assurance framework, it added.

The driveless buses in Scotland will run the 22.5km route between Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife to Edinburgh Park Transport Interchange.

They will have the capacity to ferry about 10,000 passenger journeys per week, and will also have sensors enabling them to travel on pre-selected roads of up to 80kmh.

However, the buses will still have two staff onboard.

One is a safety driver who will sit in the driver’s seat to monitor the technology, and the other is a so-called captain will assist passengers with buying tickets, boarding and questions.

Stagecoach said that driver training is “well underway” with 20 staff completing training in the lead up to the launch.

Scottish Minister for Transport Kevin Stewart, who noted that the project is an “exciting milestone”, said: “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.”

Stagecoach’s UK managing director Carla Stockton-Jones said that the company is excited to introduce the UK’s first autonomous bus fleet in east Scotland.

“We are proud to be at the forefront of transport innovation with this project that marks a significant milestone for public transport, and we look forward to welcoming our customers on board in the coming months,” she added.

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