CAVForth: A driving force for safety

While self-driving cars and services are already operating in cities across the US and China, Scotland is believed to be the first country to launch autonomous buses to the public. The fleet of five full-sized buses, which each have a safety driver onboard, can carry up to 10,000 passengers per week on the 14-mile route from Fife to Edinburgh Park, with maximum speeds of 50mph (CAVForth, 2023), reports the Law Society of Scotland.

The pilot project, which was introduced last year, has brought together multiple organisations, including technology firm Fusion Processing Ltd, transport operator Stagecoach, bus manufacturer Alexander Dennis, Edinburgh Napier University and Transport Scotland.

“CAVForth has helped establish Scotland’s credentials in autonomous vehicle (AV) technology on the global stage,” explained Fiona Hyslop, Scotland’s Secretary for Transport. “The Scottish Government has used its involvement to learn what steps a roads authority like Transport Scotland must take to support the safe operation of self-driving vehicles.

“Trials like this will be fundamental to their use becoming more widespread.”

Stagecoach is now looking at how AV technology could be applied in different use cases.   

In addition to the East Scotland operation, other self-driving transport services will launch in Sunderland and Cambridge later this year.  

Steven Russell, innovation manager at Stagecoach, said: “We are also planning to extend the CAVForth route this year, adding a five-mile stretch running into Dunfermline City Centre.”


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