In a 2020 trial, the world’s first full-sized fleet of self-driving buses will cross the Forth Road Bridge and run between Fife and Edinburgh. These buses hope to board passengers as early as 2021. According to UK Business secretary Greg Clark, “The UK is building on its automotive heritage and strengths to develop the new vehicles and technologies and from 2021 the public will get to experience the future for themselves.” The Scottish self-driving buses will be sharing £25m in government funding with self-driving taxis in London with the goal of becoming operational in 2021.
Scotland Trials the World’s First Fleet of Self-Driving Buses
Within three years, the 14-mile distance between Fife and Edinburgh could be filled with an operational fleet of self-driving buses. Many firms backing this endeavor have speculated that these services could provide as many as 10,000 trips each week if ran every 20 minutes. The initial fleet will consist of five single-decker buses, with a carrying capacity of 42 passengers. In the beginning, the bus will only be completely unmanned within the depot, while carrying out certain maneuvers, such as parking and going to fuelling stations as well as the bus wash.
The UK Embraces the Future of Self-Driving Technology
The UK has been a place of innovation for automated transport technology, with driverless buses already being tested in Greenwich and Milton Keynes by Stagecoach, where passengers can try out self-driving pod vehicles. In London, companies Addison Lee and Oxbotica, seek to build on these trials by having driverless taxis conduct more complex routes. There are no doubt a variety of benefits to shifting to autonomous technology, including increased mobility, diminished congestion and thus cleaner air quality, and better safety on the road.
The market for autonomous vehicles is projected to create a tremendous benefit for the environment, to society and economically speaking as well. According to the minister of future mobility, Jesse Norman, the UK market for self-driving vehicles is forecast to be worth as much as £52bn by 2035.