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UK’s first autonomous bus service launches in Edinburgh

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The UK’s first full-sized driverless buses have begun transporting passengers between Fife and Edinburgh, marking a “significant milestone” for public transport and autonomous vehicles. The launch of the AB1 service, which is operated by Stagecoach, is the culmination of the CAVForth project.

A fleet of five vehicles will cover the new 14-mile route, across the Forth Road Bridge from Ferrytoll park-and-ride in Fife to Edinburgh Park station. They can travel at up to 50mph. The service will have two members of staff on board: a ‘safety driver’ to monitor the technology, and a ‘captain’ in the saloon to take tickets and answer customer questions.

The captain is there to demonstrate what a full-size autonomous bus might feel like in the future, when one member of staff can leave the cab while the computer does the driving.

The trial, which will now run until 2025, aims to demonstrate autonomous technology in a real-world environment transporting up to 10,000 passengers per week.

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