UK Launches World’s First Bus Route With Full-Size Autonomous Buses

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Five full-sized autonomous buses by Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV have commenced operation on the AB1 route between Edinburgh and Fife, marking the world’s first registered bus route to employ full-size self-driving buses. The 23-km mixed-traffic route will see these buses reach speeds of up to 80 km/h.

According to Stagecoach, the public transport company overseeing the operation, these autonomous buses can serve up to 10,000 passengers weekly on the AB1 route. A standard adult ticket is priced at £7.20 (around $9). Stagecoach regards this launch as a significant milestone for autonomous technology.

This initiative is part of the CAVForth project, which is set to run until 2025. The autonomous buses utilize an array of sensors and artificial intelligence, overseen by a safety driver to ensure safe operation. An on-board “captain” is also present to handle ticketing and customer queries.

The project is a collaborative effort involving Stagecoach, Fusion Processing, Transport Scotland, Bristol Robotics Lab, Alexander Dennis, the University of the West of England, and Edinburgh Napier University. Part of the project funding was provided by the UK Government’s Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.

Paul Davies, president and managing director of Alexander Dennis, expressed optimism for autonomous transportation’s future, stating that systems like CAVForth could enhance safety through reduced reaction times and optimized acceleration and deceleration. These improvements could also lead to significant energy savings and less vehicle wear.

The Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV electric buses can carry up to 80 passengers depending on the model, with a range of up to 257.5 km on a single charge. They are powered by a 348 kWh BYD battery and twin 90 kW electric motors, providing a total power output of 244.7 hp.

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Martin Harris
I'm Martin Harris, a tech writer with extensive experience, contributing to global publications. Trained in Computer Science, I merged my technical know-how with writing, becoming a technology journalist. I've covered diverse topics like AI and consumer electronics, contributing to top tech platforms. I participate in tech events for knowledge updating. Besides writing, I enjoy reading, photography, and aim to clarify technology's complexities to readers.

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