A joint Stagecoach and ADL project aims to trial automated driving on public transport and is part of a growing trend in using advanced technology to make roads safer.

Stuart Cottrell, Head of Advanced Engineering at ADL, will be presenting at the SOE Symposium in November. He will explain how the project, boosted by a £4.35m investment from the government’s Innovate UK fund last year, will begin trials in 2020 when a fleet of five autonomous buses will travel across the Forth Road Bridge between Edinburgh and Fife.

The technical lecture will be part of the afternoon session at the Symposium, split into three streams: Commercial Vehicle Technology; Fixed Plant Operation and Maintenance; and Risk, Safety and Engineering Competence.

The project, the first of its kind in the UK, is seen by Stuart as another example of the bus and coach sector fully embracing innovation and technology.

“The bus industry continuously innovates to keep attracting passengers and offer comfortable and efficient travel options in a rapidly changing world. Improvements in vehicle technology, including automation, are a part of the response to this by helping to future-proof bus technology and ADL is at the forefront of this development,” said Stuart.

To truly benefit from the technology this project uses – optical cameras, satellite navigation and multiple sensors – engineers must be willing to adapt to new job roles and commit to professional development, says Stuart.

“To fully utilise the benefits of these new technologies, we want to ensure that engineers’ expertise keeps pace, and this is why ADL believes in technical learning and professional development as vital contributions to this exciting sector,” he added.

Connectivity, its impact on all disciplines of operations engineering, and its potential for automation, is the theme of the SOE Symposium this autumn. Delegates will hear how connectivity is easing maintenance and repair work and simplifying safety procedures.

“Data and digitisation will play an increasingly important role in all disciplines and vehicle engineering will be no exception. By building up the expertise now, engineers remain at the forefront of developments and are ready to get the most out of the opportunities that these concepts offer for their disciplines. Data is king, and the techniques of its acquisition and analysis have to be non-negotiable elements of a modern, effective engineers toolbox.”

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