Fife’s ‘driverless’ bus now has a human behind the wheel

A groundbreaking ‘driverless’ bus service across the Forth now has a driver back behind the wheel.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Stagecoach, which operates the service, said the switch back to human control was to allow “development work” to be implemented.

The autonomous buses were launched in May after a successful pilot project, marking a first for transport - it was one of the most complex projects of its kind worldwide, and the first registered service in the UK to use full-sized autonomous buses.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The CAVForth service introduced ‘driverless’ travel between the Ferrytoll Park and Ride near Inverkeithing to Edinburgh Park across the Forth Road Bridge. The buses operate autonomously but have a safety driver and captain on board.

On Tuesday Stagecoach, said a driver was now back behind the wheel, explaining on Twitter: “Due to some ongoing development work, our autonomous service, AB1, is currently being driven by a human driver. We hope to return to being computer-driven soon!”

Services first operated on the 14-mile route in May. A fleet of five vehicles operate a frequent timetable with the capacity for around 10,000 journeys per week in mixed traffic, at up to 50mph.

A “safety driver” remain sat the wheel but most of the route via the bridge and the M90, M9 and M8 motorwaysis operated in autonomous mode, with computers on the bus controlling the speed and steering, and applying the brakes if needed. Passengers were advised to wear seat belts, but operator Stagecoach said that was no different to its other buses which were fitted with them.