A full-size single-decker bus with autonomous driving and producing zero carbon emissions has taken to the road in the UK for the first time.
Operated by First Bus, the Mi-Link 003 service carries passengers between Didcot Parkway train station and Milton Park, a science, technology and business community in Oxfordshire.
The service uses a MetroCity 1080EV, manufactured by Switch in Yorkshire, and began operating on Thursday 07 September).
The 28-seater bus will run every 30 minutes from 7am-6.30pm Monday to Saturday until the trial’s conclusion on Saturday 30 September.
The autonomous drive capability is provided by Fusion Processing’s CAVstar automated drive system, which includes an intelligent controller and high-performance processor combined with range of sensors including radar, lidar and cameras to control steering, acceleration and braking without the need for human intervention.
The latest phase of the trial builds on the service operated by an all-electric Mellor Orion E minibus, which began in June and ran for seven weeks, clocking up more than 3,000 miles.
This followed a pilot with the smaller bus in March using a circular route within Milton Park, which is situated between Didcot and Abingdon.
Carbon emissions reduction from the use of all-electric buses in autonomous mode is one of the aims of the consortium behind the programme.
John Birtwistle, head of policy at First Bus and leading the MultiCAV consortium delivering the service, said: “The next phase in this ground-breaking bus service gives us the opportunity to show more customers the exciting possibilities afforded by combining zero emission and digital autonomous technology to provide a smarter, cleaner and quieter way to travel.”
According to First Bus, a total of more than 500 trips in the previous phase saved nearly 1.5 tonnes of carbon, equivalent to that produced by a typical household over three months.
Innovations and achievements in transportation will be highlighted and celebrated at first-ever Robotics & Automation Awards on 31 October 2023 at the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in London. Please visit roboticsandautomationawards.co.uk to learn more about this unmissable industry event – and to book your table today!