The 11.5m single-deck Enviro200, built by Alexander Dennis (ADL), is equipped with CAVstar control and sensor technology from Fusion Processing.
The first public demonstration was held yesterday (18 March), and was attended by the chief executives of the partner organisations ADL, Stagecoach and Fusion.
CAVstar uses multiple sensor types including radar, LIDAR, optical cameras and ultrasound, along with satellite navigation to detect and avoid objects in all weathers, day and night, and to plan an optimum path for the vehicle.
The software being used in this pilot vehicle also forms the basis for a major trial due to start in 2020, when a fleet of five autonomous buses will run with passengers between Fife and Edinburgh (see link below).
The vehicles in both trials will be used autonomously to Level 4, which means that a safety driver must remain on board in line with UK regulations.
“Stagecoach was the original transport disruptor, trying new things and breaking new ground, and that has never changed. This is an exciting project to trial autonomous technology on a full-sized bus for the first time in the UK,” said Stagecoach chief executive Martin Griffiths.
Jim Hutchinson, CEO of Fusion Processing, said the trial “offers a glimpse of how future bus depots can be automated for improved safety and efficiency”.
Colin Robertson, ADL chief executive, added: “This trial allows us to evaluate potential benefits of autonomous technology in a real-world scenario, and feeds into our extensive work to further improve the safety of buses with the help of state-of-the-art technology.”