The vehicles will be used autonomously to Level 4, so a driver will remain on board at all times.
The 11.8m ADL Enviro200 buses will operate the 14-mile route between Ferrytoll Park & Ride facility in Fife and the Edinburgh Park train and tram interchange. The buses will use both on-road and hard shoulder running, and will use the dedicated public transport corridor across the bridge for buses and taxis.
Project partners are Stagecoach, bus maker ADL, technology business Fusion Processing, mobility services firm ESP Group, Transport Scotland, Edinburgh Napier University and University of West of England.
The UK government has awarded £4.35 million of funding, through Innovate UK.
Work on the project is expected to start during the second quarter of next year at ADL’s manufacturing site in Guildford, with the first vehicles due to go into service during 2020.
Stagecoach, ADL and Fusion Processing are already working together on the first trial of a full-size autonomous vehicle within a Stagecoach depot, with the bus expected to be ready at the start of 2019.
In the short term, this bus will be used in autonomous mode only within the depot, parking and moving into the fuelling station and bus wash. The project partners believe that using self-driving vehicles within depots more widely could help improve safety, efficiency and space utilisation.