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Edinburgh Live
Edinburgh Live
Sean Mcgill

Edinburgh passengers to ride world's first driverless bus from this spring

Edinburgh passengers will be the first in the world to ride a self-driving bus service as early as this spring after new funding was announced.

The UK government has injected more than £10 million into the project which will allow the creation of a completely operational and fully sized service without the need for drivers.

The project, dubbed Cavforth, is set to transport more than 10,000 passengers a week across the Forth Road bridge from Edinburgh Park to Ferrytoll Park and Ride in Fife.

READ MORE - Beyonce announces Edinburgh show as megastar set for Murrayfield performance

Self-automated vehicles are set to become a far more frequent sight on UK roads, with the government and industry ploughing a total of more than £81 million into the field today.

Sunderland, Belfast and Coventry are some of the cities that have been given funding to put their foot on the pedal of driverless technology.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps 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 influx of this advanced technology is expected to benefit the lives of those who cannot drive, with forecasts predicting that 40 percent of UK car sales in 2035 will have self-driving capabilities.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Self-driving vehicles including buses will positively transform people’s everyday lives – making it easier to get around, access vital services and improve regional connectivity.

“We’re supporting and investing in the safe rollout of this incredible technology to help maximise its full potential, while also creating skilled jobs and boosting growth in this important sector.”

The government says it is also intent on ensuring the safety of these vehicles, with £600,000 being put into ‘feasibility tests’. During their lifetime on the road, the self-automated vehicles are expected to equivalent to a careful and competent human driver, with organisations that oversee these projects facing sanctions if standards are not maintained.

Innovate UK Executive Director for Net Zero, Mike Biddle, said: “The Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) sector is of crucial importance to the UK, with the potential to deliver safer, cleaner and more efficient transport systems across a wide range of settings.

“This latest, multi-year round of government’s Commercialising CAM funds builds on the success of previous collaborative R&D programme, stimulating innovation to ensure the UK is at the forefront of the transition towards the commercialisation of self-driving services.”


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