The rise of the Autonomous Bus: what do they have to offer?

The media has been quite exercised lately by the planned trial of Autonomous Buses across the Forth between Ferrytoll and Edinburgh Park.

In early May, a member of EBUG’s Committee took part in a workshop run by Edinburgh Napier University as part of the ‘CAVForth’ trail.

The day’s agenda included: Introduction to the research, project overview, pre-trial surveys, benefits and how to realise them, risks and mitigation, drivers and barriers (to name a few)…

It did not include any trial runs of the buses. On-ground trials, with passengers, start later in 2022 (Monday – Sunday, up to every 20mins; probable route number AB1).

The introduction revealed the answer to ‘what are ABs for?’ (reframed as ‘what are their expected benefits?’) is:

  • Safety: elimination of human error
  • Reliability: ABs could
    1. potentially overcome unexpected staff unavailability
    2. continuously adjust optimal driving to meet local circumstances
  • Reduce fuel use

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