Scotland 'open for business' in pioneering driverless vehicles

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Connected vehiclesImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
According to a motor trade report, more than 95% of the vehicles on the road in the UK will be connected vehicles by 2025

Scotland is "open for business" to develop driverless vehicles, says cabinet secretary Michael Matheson.

The minister wants the country to spearhead the testing and development of self-driving technology.

Transport Scotland's new "Roadmap For Scotland" sets out plans to put Scottish business at the forefront of innovation.

One of its first projects is a fleet of autonomous buses running from Fife and Edinburgh, via the Forth Road Bridge.

A consortium of partners from government, industry and academia are collaborating in the design, development and operation of the full-sized fleet.

The plan is designed to keep Scotland at the forefront of developments in the connected and autonomous vehicle (Cav) industry.

The Cav Roadmap sets out the future vision for how Scotland can benefit from and contribute to the sector.

According to a recent report by The Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders (SMMT), more than 95% of the vehicles on the road in the UK will be connected vehicles by 2025.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Autonomous bus services are already in operation in some countries, including this one in Shenzhen, China

2020 will bring a major milestone when Project Cav Forth will trial the first autonomous full-sized bus fleet in passenger service after receiving £4.35m part-funding from the UK government.

Cav Scotland, a Transport Scotland conference and event, will bring together global experts to assess latest developments and discuss future trials and research.

Transport Scotland will also work closely with the Department for Transport, other road authorities and European counterparts to determine regulations for adoption of Cav technologies on the Scottish road network.

Transport Scotland has already completed a trial of roadside beacons, capable of transmitting messages into an app displayed on a smart phone mounted in the vehicle. The successful trial involved sending directional static journey time information when passing the point on the network where the equipment was installed.

Image source, Cav Report
Image caption,
Levels of driving automation now and in the future

The report says the diversity of Scotland's strategic road network offers opportunities for testing and trialling connected and autonomous vehicles and the technologies that will enable them.

Michael Matheson, Cabinet secretary for Transport, Infrastructure and Connectivity, said: "I am delighted to launch the Cav Roadmap and deliver one of the key commitments from our programme for government.

"It sets out how Scotland can play a key role in this fast-moving industry, as well as the steps we need to take to unlock these opportunities.

"I intend Scotland to be at the forefront of these technologies. We are open for business to test, demonstrate and pilot autonomous vehicle trials.

"The deployment of connected and automated vehicles has the potential to bring transformative change to peoples' lives - not just in how we travel, but in how we work, where we live, the environment, and safety."

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