First Bus trials autonomous bus 17 October 2023

First Bus autonomous bus (Image credit: AdobeStock By Postmodern Studio)

First Bus has trialled an autonomous bus carrying passengers between Didcot Parkway train station and Milton Park in Oxfordshire.

Milton Park is a science, technology and business community, which is home to more than 270 companies and 9,000 employees.

The Mi-Link 003 service used a MetroCity 1080EV manufactured by Switch in Yorkshire. The 28-seater bus ran every 30 minutes from 7am-6.30pm Monday to Saturday until the trial’s conclusion on 30 September.

The autonomous drive capability was provided by Fusion Processing’s CAVstar Automated Drive System which includes an intelligent controller and processor combined with range of sensors including radar, Lidar and cameras to control steering, acceleration and braking without the need for human intervention.

This latest phase of the UK's only zero emission autonomous bus trials builds on the service operated by an all-electric Mellor Orion E minibus which began in June and ran for seven weeks, clocking up more than 3,000 miles. This followed a pilot with the smaller bus in March using a circular route within Milton Park, which is situated between Didcot and Abingdon.

Transport Engineer

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