UK’s first autonomous bus depot launched

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Trials have begun of self-driving buses that are able to park, maneuver and position themselves into a washing station, within a depot environment in Manchester, UK.

The groundbreaking project, which aims to deliver greater safety and efficiency to Stagecoach’s Sharston depot, is the first in the UK to operate the technology for such tasks.

Technology company Fusion Processing has provided a combination of sensors including radar, lidar, optical cameras, ultrasound and satellite navigation, to enable a single-deck bus to pilot itself around the depot at Level 4 autonomy. A human is still required to be present for safety reasons.

The 11.5m Enviro200 vehicle provided by Alexander Dennis is fitted with Fusion Processing’s CAVstar system, which is the same technology also being used for a project to operate autonomous buses along a route on Edinburgh’s Forth Road Bridge in 2020.

“Our CAVstar sensor and control system has now been successfully applied to vehicles ranging in size from two-seater electric vehicles right up to a 12m, 43-seat seater bus. Today offers a glimpse of how future bus depots can be automated for improved safety and efficiency,” said Jim Hutchinson, CEO of Fusion Processing.

“Our advanced driver-assistance systems such as CycleEye already offer improved operational safety for buses and HGVs today, and we anticipate further new ADAS products as spin offs from the AV bus project.

“Beyond this trial we look forward to continue our collaboration with Stagecoach and Alexander Dennis Limited, delivering the world’s first large-scale autonomous bus service in Edinburgh in 2020.”

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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