Autonomous bus with zero carbon emissions hits UK roads
The latest phase of the Mi-Link bus service will give First Bus the opportunity to showcase the potential unlocked by combining zero-emission and digital autonomous technology, offering a smarter and cleaner way to travel.
Credit: First Bus
First Bus has announced that a full-size single-decker bus equipped with autonomous driving capabilities 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 is set to provide seamless transportation for passengers commuting between Didcot Parkway train station and Milton Park, a prominent science, technology and business community nestled in Oxfordshire. Milton Park houses over 270 companies and employs approximately 9,000 individuals.
The innovative service commenced operations on 7 September 2023 and consists of 28 seats, operating from 07:00 to 18:30 Monday to Saturday. The trial period will conclude on 30 September 2023.
The bus’s autonomous capabilities have been made possible by Fusion Processing’s CAVstar® Automated Drive System, which incorporates an intelligent controller, high-performance processor and a suite of sensors including radar, LiDAR and cameras. These advanced technologies work in unison to oversee steering, acceleration and braking, eliminating the need for human intervention.
John Birtwistle, Head of Policy at First Bus and the leader of the MultiCAV consortium responsible for delivering this 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.”
This latest phase marks an important progression in the UK’s only zero-emission autonomous bus trials. In early 2023, an all-electric Mellor Orion E minibus underwent a successful seven-week trial, covering over 3,000 miles. The project kicked off with a pilot in March 2023, deploying a smaller autonomous bus on a circular route within Milton Park, situated between Didcot and Abingdon.
One of the primary goals of this programme is to significantly reduce carbon emissions through the utilisation of all-electric buses in autonomous mode. During the previous phase, more than 500 trips resulted in savings of nearly 1.5 tonnes of carbon.
To ensure safety throughout the journey, a dedicated safety driver will be present on-board at all times, providing personalised service and information to passengers.
If you liked this, you may also be interested in: