UK launches first full-size autonomous bus service with top speed of 50mph


The AB1 autonomous bus service will travel on a route in Scotland, with the vehicles capable of hitting a top speed of 50 mph.

Andy Buchanan | AFP | Getty Images

Britain’s first full-size autonomous bus service opened to the general public on Monday, with those involved in the project hailing it as a milestone for the sector.

The AB1 service, as it is known, travels a 14-mile route in Scotland between Ferrytall Park and Ride in Fife and Edinburgh Park Transport Interchange.

According to public transportation firm Stagecoach, the route, which crosses the famous Fourth Road Bridge, is capable of carrying more than 10,000 passengers each week. A standard single adult ticket costs £7.20, or roughly $9.

in one Announcement Late last week, Stagecoach described the launch as a “significant milestone for autonomous technology.” The company said AB1 is believed to be “the world’s first registered bus service to use full-size autonomous buses.”

test, which is part of cavforth The project will run till the year 2025. A fleet of five buses will be involved, which will travel at a speed of 50 mph in mixed traffic.

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Autonomous vehicles operate using a range of sensors and artificial intelligence, although a human safety driver is required at all times. Another member of staff will be responsible for ticketing and answering questions from those on board.

Along with Stagecoach, the project partners are Fusion Processing; Transport Scotland; Bristol Robotics Lab; Alexander Denis; University of the West of England; and Edinburgh Napier University.

Some of its funding comes from the UK government’s Center for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles.

In comments made last week, Paul Davies, chairman and managing director of bus maker Alexander Dennis, appeared upbeat about the prospects for autonomous driving going forward.

“We believe that automated driving systems like the ones we are testing in CAVForth will further improve safety by reducing reaction times,” he said.

Davis argued that such systems provide “significant energy savings and the ability to drive buses more efficiently by optimizing acceleration and deceleration to reduce wear and tear on the vehicle.”

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