Scotland to Launch UK’s First Driverless Bus Service Next Week

Scotland will get the UK’s first autonomous bus network next week, with drivers waiting behind the wheel to take over in case of an emergency. The service will be the first automated local bus service in the world, according to its operator, and it hopes to transport 10,000 passengers per week across a 14-mile (22.5-kilometer) route on five single-deck buses.

“The autonomous technology on this bus has been tested before but this is the first time that it has been put on to a bus that’s now a registered local bus service,” Peter Stevens, policy director of Stagecoach bus service, told AFP after a demonstration near Edinburgh.

As needed by UK legislation, which does not yet enable completely autonomous cars, the buses, which will move at up to 50 miles per hour, will have a safety driver monitoring the system starting on Monday.

When the car is in autonomous mode, the driver doesn’t touch the controls; instead, an onboard conductor takes care of tickets and passenger inquiries. While optical cameras and radar scan the road to look for pedestrians, the onboard system will recognize other road users to avoid collisions. The bus’s precise location and the safest path there are determined by the control system’s artificial intelligence engine, which gathers data from all throughout the vehicle.

Stevens said the service would be safer, more fuel efficient, and would offer a better experience for customers.

Some Public Opinions / Reviews on these are: “Technological Revolution“, “The system is designed to increase safety“, “The driver has now got the 360-degree vision, and the system can respond faster than a human can in terms of reaction time“, “There’s always going to be a safety driver in the seat even when the bus is driving itself. So that if there is a need for them to take control, they can take control“.

Stevens said the buses would be learning the route continually and collecting thousands of hours of data a month.

Another Bus driver said the service was “something new, exciting to see, part of our technological revolution”. A driverless bus was tested in South Korea’s capital, Seoul, last year as part of an experiment that engineers said aimed to make people feel more comfortable with driverless vehicles on the roads.

A driverless electric bus started running in Malaga, Spain, in 2021 as part of a project touted as a first in Europe after Singapore started testing self-driving buses earlier that year.