Scotland To Get Driverless Bus Service In May 2023

Umer Abdullah
Scotland is set to launch its first driverless bus service, “CAVForth,” this month. Developed by StageCoach in collaboration with several partners, the autonomous buses will undergo a two-week trial before potentially serving up to 10,000 passengers weekly. The project marks an exciting milestone in the nation’s transportation sector.
CAVForth team standing in front of the buses. Photo: Stagecoach

Scotland has one of the most advanced infrastructure and transportation systems. When discussing transportation systems, the bus system matters the most. The more advanced, well-organized, and clean the buses are, the better they can help and support the locals and promote tourism in a country.

However, to improve the travel experience of their citizens and tourists, Scotland has recently announced the launch of driverless autonomous buses this month.

Driverless Bus Technology And Launch Details

Driverless buses work with the help of sensors that allow them to run on a pre-set route. These buses work independently through the program and technology installed and do not need a human driver to operate them. The buses are pre-tested as a trial on a depot, going through virtual stimulation and track testing.

The world’s first driverless or autonomous bus was announced in the UK on the 4th of April for launch in east Scotland. UK’s largest bus operator and coach service, known as StageCoach, set the bus service for launch on the 15th of May in East Scotland.

StageCoach, in collaboration with Fusion Processing Ltd, Transport Scotland, Alexander Dennis, Bristol Robotic Lab, and Edinburgh Napier University, are launching the bus service in Scotland. The project, known as “CAVForth,” the first of its kind, will feature full-sized buses.

Testing, Implementation, And Future Plans

As for the testing, the buses will be tested on the Forth Road Bridge for the first time. The buses will not feature a special track or infrastructure system. Instead, they will carry all types of passengers on the same roads used by other vehicles for daily purposes.

However, it will first have a two-week trial period involving five Single Decker buses. These buses will travel and cover the distance between Ferry Toll Park and Edinburgh Park and Ride in Pife in Scotland.

The training for the staff is already underway, and it will have 20 staff members ready on its launch day. Despite being autonomous buses still, they will have two staff members onboard. The buses will follow a scheduled timetable and a route.

Moreover, these buses would be able to carry 36 passengers in each bus if they are commissioned for public service this summer. So, they could move around 10,000 passengers in a week on a 14-mile single route.

An Exciting Milestone By Scottish Transport

The Project “CAVForth” is already gaining positive support from local travelers. In a public statement, the Scottish transport minister, Kevin Stewart, shared his thought about the project as an “exciting milestone” in the transport sector. Moreover, it will also help Scotland to establish its credentials worldwide.

More Driverless Bus Projects

With a budget of 55 million Euros, ULTIMO is currently a huge self-driving minibus project in Europe. As published by the WEF, the project is tasked with testing these buses in three different European cities. These cities include Geneva in Switzerland, Oslo in Norway, and Kronach in Germany.

There are plans to launch similar projects in Belfast and Sunderland too.


Undoubtedly, this driverless bus project’s excitement and expectations are quite high. However, as a fact, it is very unlikely that these buses will drive independently on their own without the involvement of a trained staff member, at least for the next few years.

Until the technology becomes capable enough, it would be mandatory for them to have trained staff members onboard to take care of safety measures from time to time.


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