Britain’s first self-driving BUS service launches in Queensferry: Full-sized coaches will ferry passengers over the Forth Road Bridge (but don’t worry, there are TWO members of staff on board)
- Stagecoach took its first set of passengers on a new autonomous bus today
- These are to be launched in Scotland from Monday, marking a historic first
- The firm assured customers they should not be cautious about having no driver
Driverless buses are to be launched in Scotland from Monday, marking a historic first for Britain.
Stagecoach took its first set of passengers on a new autonomous bus today as services were tested on a 14-mile route over the Forth Road Bridge.
Just two staff members were on board at the time – a ticket seller and a step-in safety driver to take control of the vehicle if needed.
But the bus firm assured anxious customers that travelling without a driver is completely safe ahead of their rollout next week.
‘I would say to anyone who is a bit cautious about using the vehicle not to be, there is a full safety case that has been worked through,’ Director of Stagecoach Sam Greer said. ‘The vehicle has been certified as safe for public use.’
Stagecoach took its first set of passengers on a new autonomous bus today
A fleet of five buses will carry passengers back-and-forth between Ferry Toll near Inverkeithing, Fife, and Edinburgh Park from Monday.
These can travel at up to 50mph when embarking on the journey across the Forth Road Bridge.
Scotland’s Transport Minister Kevin Stewart was one of the first to strap in for the short trip during Stagecoach’s tests today.
As the driver lifted his hands from the wheel, Mr Stewart assured the other passengers onboard that he felt ‘very safe’.
‘It’s absolutely fantastic to see this autonomous bus testing here. We want Scotland to be at the very forefront of this technology,’ Mr Stewart said.
‘I felt very safe on the bus, there has been a huge amount of testing. There were staff on board. I hope the people of Fife and Edinburgh [will come] and see for themselves just how safe all of this is.
‘We need people to use public transport more, whether that be buses or trains. We’re doing all that we can to encourage people on to public transport.’
The bus launch comes just a year after ministers announced £40million in grants to help bring driverless buses and vans to UK roads by 2025.
Autonomous buses are to be launched in Scotland from Monday, marking a historic first
Just two staff member were on board at the time – a ticket seller and a step-in safety driver
This was first announced in the Queen’s Speech, with a goal to make journeys ‘safer, greener and more reliable’, according to the Department of Business.
Yet Stagecoach has been trialing its driverless technology from as far back as 2019, with tests conducted within the confines of a depot.
Now, the buses have completed one million miles of test drives and will operate on a trial basis until 2025.
Mr Greer continued: ‘When you consider the billions of dollars spent globally on autonomous bus transport, I’m not surprised there is worldwide media interest.
‘Five buses will operate between Ferry Toll park-and-ride and Edinburgh Park.
The bus company assured customers they should not be cautious about having no driver
The bus launch comes just a year after ministers announced £40million in grants to help bring driverless buses and vans to UK roads by 2025
‘We’ll look to analyse the data, the reaction and feedback from passengers and the general public about acceptance of the technology and we’ll make a decision about how we use the technology in the future.’
Driverless shuttle services are also anticipated to launch in Belfast Harbour after £11million was granted to Northern Ireland’s Harlander Project.
Business Secretary, Grant Shapps, believes that opportunities such as these could add ‘tens of billions to our economy’.
Prior to the Scotland launch, he said: ‘In just a few years’ time, the business of self-driving vehicles could add tens of billions to our economy and create tens of thousands of jobs across the UK.
‘This is a massive opportunity to drive forward our priority to grow the economy, which we are determined to seize.
‘The support we are providing today will help our transport and technology pioneers steal a march on the global competition, by turning their bright ideas into market-ready products sooner than anyone else.’
Apple Car could be WINDOWLESS: Tech giant files a patent for a bizarre ‘coffin-like’ driverless vehicle
Apple’s long-awaited Apple Car could have virtual displays on the inside instead of clear windows, according to a new patent.
The tech giant has filed a patent for a virtual reality (VR) vehicle system that matches up ‘virtual views’ with the physical motion of a car as it’s travelling.
For example, if the car was careering down a hill, the system could project a virtual image of a rollercoaster ride.
Chairs in the car would move about to match the visuals, the patent suggests, much like an immersive ‘4DX’ cinema experience.
But it would mean passing views of the real world – such as a beautiful medieval cathedral or stunning coastal hills – would be entirely replaced with virtual graphics.
Read more here
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