Bigger autonomous buses

IOM3 Content Cafe
7 Sep 2020
The Alexander Dennis single-deckers

A full programme of trials of Bristol, UK-based Fusion Processing’s CAVstar autonomous drive system installed on Alexander Dennis single-deckers will be taking place during 2020 and 2021. They will feature on a 30-mile route in Scotland, UK, between Fife, across the Forth Road Bridge, to the Edinburgh Park Train and Tram interchange.

Fusion Processing is an SME based in Bristol, UK, and CAVForth expects to be carrying passengers by this time next year, running at up to 50mph and more fuel-efficiently than manually driven buses. Five 42-seat buses will feature the CAVstar control and sensing system, integrated with each vehicle’s steering, throttle and braking systems. CAVstar draws on information from radar, LIDAR, optical cameras and ultrasonic sensors, along with satellite navigation, to detect and avoid objects.

Meanwhile, Coventry-based RDM Group’s division, Aurrigo, has created 10 new jobs over the past year to meet rising demand for its driverless pods developed with support from the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Innovate UK. It has customers in Australia, Canada, China, Finland, Singapore, and the USA.

Aurrigo recently collaborated with researchers from the University of Warwick to demonstrate a successful ‘swarming’ of pods. This is a key element of a CCAV-funded project called SWARM (Self-organising Wide area Autonomous vehicle Real-time Marshalling). It means that pods can follow each other without supervision, helping each other to drive and navigate through pedestrian areas around people.

Aurrigo has also received a £2.54 million grant to build and trial a fleet of six self-driving shuttles with 10-15 seats to operate an out-of-hours service on a section of an existing guided busway. Public services start by the end of 2020.