This project will see Stagecoach extend the 14-mile route of the existing CAVForth autonomous bus service from Edinburgh Park station across the Forth Road Bridge – poised to launch to the public this spring after extensive testing – on to Dunfermline city centre. The additional five-mile section of the route will take in more complex autonomous driving scenarios on busy category A and B roads, mixing with city centre traffic.
The Enviro100EV will feature an upgraded version of Fusion’s CAVStar ADS (automated drive system). This bus will operate alongside five existing autonomous Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV buses from the original CAVForth project.
Fusion will map the automated drive system to match the best driver to optimise acceleration. The Fusion system also interrogates the traffic lights and adjusts the vehicle’s speed to ensure they arrive on green, further reducing tyre and brake wear.
The buses will continue to be staffed by specially-trained ‘autonomous bus professionals’ recruited by Stagecoach from across its East Scotland business. These bus drivers will act as safety drivers and monitor the autonomous system alongside a bus ‘captain’ who will move around the vehicle, talking to passengers about the service and answering any questions they may have.
CAVForth2 is jointly funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles. Other project partners include Edinburgh Napier University and the University of West of England.
Jamie Wilson, Alexander Dennis’s head of concepts and advanced engineering, welcomed the confirmation of UK Government funding: “This renewed support from the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles builds on our achievements in the CAVForth project and will allow us to further develop autonomous bus technology here in the UK. This ensures the British bus industry remains at the forefront of global trends and helps secure jobs in the automotive industry. Our new Enviro100AEV will demonstrate another use case for our extremely versatile next-generation electric bus as Alexander Dennis continues to lead the transition to zero-emission mobility.”