Stagecoach has partnered with Alexander Dennis Ltd (ADL) and technology company Fusion Processing to produce a single-deck autonomous bus.
Work on the vehicle is being carried out at ADL’s site in Guildford and the bus is expected to be ready for use by the end of this year. Without revealing the additional cost of each driverless bus, the partners collectively are investing a significant six figure sum in this proof of concept project.
Once complete, the 12m ADL Enviro200 vehicle will be completely autonomous and able to operate without a driver in an off-road environment. The technology also delivers road safety benefits when driven in manual mode.
The Stagecoach bus will be fitted with the CAVstar system provided by Fusion Processing. The technology uses multiple sensor types, including radar, laser, camera and ultrasound, along with satellite navigation to detect and avoid objects. This operates in all weathers, day and night, and plans an optimum path for the vehicle.
Initially, the bus will be used in autonomous mode only within the depot environment, to carry out movements such as parking and moving into the fuelling station and bus wash. Using self-driving vehicles within depots more widely could help improve safety, efficiency and space utilisation.
In service, the system can be used straight away to help improve the safety of road users. When the bus is driven in manual mode, the sensor systems, can still be used to provide assistance to the driver.