The Stagecoach operated vehicle is the UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus of its kind.
It is expected that passengers will be carried on the buses later this year when the Project CAVForth pilot is launched.
Jointly funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and the project partners Fusion, ADL, Stagecoach and Transport Scotland, it will see five autonomous ADL Enviro200 single deck buses operating over the Forth Road Bridge between Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife and the Edinburgh Park train and tram interchange.
The buses are fitted with ground-breaking sensor and control technology that enables them to run on pre-selected roads without the safety driver having to intervene or take control.
They will provide a service capable of carrying up to 36 passengers at a time over the 14 miles across the bridge, with capacity for over 10,000 passengers a week.
The on-road testing in Scotland follows successful depot-based trials, track testing and virtual simulation where the buses have been put through their paces to fine tune the autonomous drive systems.
At yesterday’s launch, Chris Gall, ADL Group Engineering Director, said: “The start of on-route testing is a milestone for our autonomous bus project. In partnership with Stagecoach, Fusion Processing and Transport Scotland, Project CAVForth helps us to explore new technologies that will make buses even safer and even more efficient. As we move towards passenger services later in the year, the project will be a landmark demonstration of future technologies in transport.”