World’s first self-driving bus to launch in Edinburgh this Spring

By 9th February 2023No Comments

This spring, passengers in Edinburgh will start boarding the world’s first full-sized, self-driving bus service. Made possible in part from a share of an £81 million grant that was awarded in join support from UK government and industry to support self-driving tech.

  • The world’s first full-sized, self-driving bus service is among the projects being awarded funding from the UK government
  • £81 million in combined government and industry funding is being made available for commercial self-driving passenger and freight services
  • Automated buses in Edinburgh, shuttles in Belfast, and lorries in Sunderland get support

The project is one of seven successful projects from around the UK, and forms the most advanced set of commercial, self-driving passenger and freight operations anywhere in the world.

The grants, part of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Connected and Automated Mobility programme, will help British companies seize early opportunities to develop experimental projects into offerings ready for the market.

£42 million in government funding is being matched by industry.

Business Secretary Grant Shapps said:

In just a few years’ time, the business of self-driving vehicles could add tens of billions to our economy and create tens of thousands of jobs across the UK. This is a massive opportunity to drive forward our priority to grow the economy, which we are determined to seize.

The support we are providing today will help our transport and technology pioneers steal a march on the global competition, by turning their bright ideas into market-ready products sooner than anyone else.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper said:

Self-driving vehicles including buses will positively transform people’s everyday lives – making it easier to get around, access vital services and improve regional connectivity.

We’re supporting and investing in the safe rollout of this incredible technology to help maximise its full potential, while also creating skilled jobs and boosting growth in this important sector.

The government is also committed to introducing legislation that will enable the safe and timely rollout of self-driving vehicles on UK roads. Under a proposed ‘safety ambition’ for self-driving vehicles to be equivalent in safety to a competent and careful human driver, vehicles will need to meet certain standards to be allowed to ‘self-drive’ on the roads throughout the lifetime of the vehicle. Organisations overseeing self-driving vehicles could face sanctions if standards are not maintained.

The UK government has not been shy about its eagerness to welcome self-driving technology to our roads. Questions of how ready the tech is for national deployment, as well as how drivers should prepare themselves to share the road with self-driving vehicles remain to be answered.


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Gary Bates

Author Gary Bates

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