UK bus company Stagecoach is trialling a full-size self-driving bus, which will be trialled in depots for manoeuvres like parking and fuelling. However, legal restrictions mean that the bus will not be able to carry passengers without a driver yet.
The 12m-long single-decker ADL Enviro200 vehicle is being built with Alexander Dennis Limited (ADL) and Fusion Processing. Work is taking place at ADL's site in Guildford. The companies expect the vehicle to be ready by the end of the year.
In-built safety features will be used when the bus is an manual mode: for example, the sensor system can warn the driver of other road users, like cyclists or pedestrians.
Fusion Processing's CAVstar system is used for sensing, with sensor types including radar, laser, camera and ultrasound, along with satellite navigation to detect and avoid objects.
Consumers remain cautious
Attitudes to driverless vehicles in the UK are mixed, a recent survey by OpenText has shown. Although 60 per cent of the 2,000 respondents said that a time will come with these vehicles overtake manned ones, more than half (52 per cent) said that they would ‘never' consider buying or renting one.
Confidence in autonomous vehicles appears to be shrinking. OpenText's 2017 survey showed that 66 per cent of people thought that driverless cars would outnumber crewed ones in the next 10-15 years; but that number had more than halved, to 31 per cent, in the 2018 survey.
"The results of this research highlight that we're very much in an era of transition for automotive vehicles," said Mark Bridger, SVP of OpenText UK. "The mix of confusion, fear, optimism and inevitability in the minds of UK citizens shows that whereas some AI-enabled technologies have moved seamlessly into our lives, more game-changing offerings like autonomous vehicles will take time to be embraced. AI will enable automakers to analyse, adapt, and suggest solutions based on data. As autonomous vehicles become more common, the data they produce will become a new, powerful asset for organisations."
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