London and Edinburgh are among the first cities in the United Kingdom to experience self-driving buses, after three new public trials of autonomous buses and taxis secured a share of £25m funding from the government.
Bus company Stagecoach and other leading transport companies are working with technology specialists to bring about the new projects.
Initial pilot projects include a 14-mile bus service over the Forth Bridge in Edinburgh. It will feature five full-size, manually-driven Alexander Dennis single deckers converted to self-driving technology.
The government’s aim is to have autonomous vehicles driving on UK roads by 2021 and the trials will assess both technical performance and include social behavioural research to explore how driverless technology can integrate into society.
The Forth Bridge project is being delivered by bus firm Alexander Dennis, Edinburgh Napier University, software firm ESP Systex, Transport Scotland, and Stagecoach.