Alexander Dennis will continue development of autonomous bus technology in the CAVForth2 project, that will see Stagecoach, the UK’s largest bus operator, extend the route of the existing CAVForth autonomous bus service from Edinburgh Park station to Dunfermline city center, using a new upgraded version of the CAVStar ADS (Automated Drive System) developed by Fusion Processing.
What is interesting, the CAVForth2 project will use an autonomous version of Alexander Dennis’ next-generation Enviro100EV electric bus. This Enviro100AEV will operate alongside five existing autonomous Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV buses from the original CAVForth project.
The project is jointly funded by the UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, and partners including Fusion Processing Ltd, Stagecoach, Edinburgh Napier University, and the University of West of England.
We’re very proud to be pioneers of this technology with our plans to roll out the UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus service in Scotland in the spring. The government funding announced today means that we can build further on this achievement by advancing the technology as we extend our Scottish bus trial to cover a longer routeCarla Stockton-Jones, UK Managing Director of Stagecoach
CAVForth2 project: the potential of autonomous driving
Automated driving offers potential advantages over manually driven buses in fuel savings and reduced brake and tyre wear, Alexander Dennis strenghtens: “There can be a 20% variance in fuel consumption across different bus drivers in a fleet. Fusion Processing will map the automated drive system to accurately match the best driver, optimizing acceleration so it is smooth and efficient. The Fusion system also interrogates the traffic lights and adjusts the vehicle’s speed to ensure they arrive on green, further reducing tyre and brake wear”.
The bus service will continue to be staffed by specially-trained “Autonomous Bus Professionals” from Stagecoach and a bus “Captain” to answer passenger questions.
Funding confirmed for autonomous driving project
Alexander Dennis’s Head of Concepts and Advanced Engineering, Jamie Wilson, welcomed the confirmation of UK Government funding: “This renewed support from the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles builds on our achievements in the CAVForth project and will allow us to further develop autonomous bus technology here in the UK. This ensures the British bus industry remains at the forefront of global trends and helps secure jobs in the automotive industry. Our new Enviro100AEV will demonstrate another use case for our extremely versatile next-generation electric bus as Alexander Dennis continues to lead the transition to zero-emission mobility.”
Jim Hutchinson, CEO at Fusion Processing Ltd, said: “CAVForth2 builds on our extensive experience in developing a fleet of five full size SAE Level 4 autonomous buses, engineered to operate safely on public roads and extends the route by a further five miles into a more complex urban environment. We have every confidence that the next generation of our CAVstar® Automated Drive System, which combines a range of Radar, LiDAR and optical sensors with state-of-the-art artificial intelligence processing units, will be up to the task.”
Carla Stockton-Jones, UK Managing Director of Stagecoach, said: “We’re very proud to be pioneers of this technology with our plans to roll out the UK’s first full-sized autonomous bus service in Scotland in the spring. The government funding announced today means that we can build further on this achievement by advancing the technology as we extend our Scottish bus trial to cover a longer route. We look forward to working with our partners across the country to roll out CAVForth2 and the other autonomous projects awarded funding today, which will all help to ensure that the UK remains firmly on the map for its advancements in autonomous technology.”