Alexander Dennis, a subsidiary of NFI, one of the world’s independent global bus manufacturers, announced that an autonomous Enviro200 bus for the CAVForth project – widely viewed as the world’s most ambitious and complex autonomous bus pilot – is exhibited by project lead Fusion Processing at the Cenex-CAM industry event held at the Millbrook proving ground, while on-road testing continues ahead of a service launch later this year.
Project CAVForth, which is jointly funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and project partners Fusion Processing, Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis, Bristol Robotics Laboratory, Edinburgh Napier University and Transport Scotland, will see five autonomous Alexander Dennis Enviro200 single deck buses operating at SAE Autonomous Level 4 on a 14-mile route that includes the iconic Forth Road Bridge near Edinburgh, Scotland. The service will form part of Stagecoach East Scotland’s scheduled bus network. The buses are fitted with Fusion Processing’s CAVStar® autonomous system.
While on-road testing continues in Scotland ahead of the public passenger service’s launch later this year, Fusion Processing is exhibiting one of the vehicles at industry event Cenex-CAM on 7th and 8th September 2022 at the UTAC proving ground in Millbrook, England. Cenex-CAM and the associated Cenex-LCV event bring an international audience together to hear from speakers from government and industry updating on the policy, technology and market developments that are spearheading progress with low carbon vehicles (LCV) and Connected Automated Mobility (CAM).
Further ongoing preparations for the public service include Stagecoach’s recruitment of over 20 specially trained ‘Autonomous Bus Professionals’ from its East Scotland business. These experienced bus drivers will monitor the autonomous system alongside a bus ‘captain’ who will move around the saloon, talking to passengers about the service and answering any questions they may have, demonstrating what a future service might feel like when the staff member is able to leave the cab while the computer does the driving.
Transport Scotland earlier this year opened a section of actively managed hard shoulder for all buses on the eastbound M8 motorway, which improves journey time reliability for all buses of 24 seats or more on approach to Edinburgh and supports the delivery of Project CAVForth.