The self-driving public transport revolution is here and will be launched in Scotland and London by 2021.
Driverless buses and taxis will lead this technological revolution under three schemes being developed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.
Driverless buses will operate on a 14-mile service between Fife and Edinburgh within three hours. It is hoped that the service will provide up to 10,000 journeys per week. Whilst the self-driving buses are being trialled, drivers will accompany the vehicles for passengers safety in case something goes awry.
Scotland’s Transport Secretary Michael Matheson said: “This collaborative trial, using one of the country’s most iconic transport corridors, shows Scotland is very much open for business in this innovative sector.”
At the other end of the country in London, self-driving taxis will be introduced into four of the cities boroughs. Addison Lee will collaborate with Oxbotica to develop taxis capable of going driverless – it will build on trials already taking place in Greenwich.
UK Business Secretary Greg Clark said “Self-driving cars will revolutionise the way we move goods and people around the UK. Autonomous vehicles and their technology will not only revolutionise how we travel, it will open up and improve transport services for those who struggle to access both private and public transport.”
He said: “The UK is building on its automotive heritage and strengths to develop the new vehicles and technologies and from 2021 the public will get to experience the future for themselves.”
Last month, Ford and Baidu announced a partnership to develop autonomous cars for China with plans to road test them by the end of the year. Huawei and Audi also announced that they would be collaborating on driverless cars.
China is the world’s largest market for driverless cars so it’s unsurprising that the rest of the world is trying to catch up.