THE first full-sized fleet of self-driving buses in the UK will be launched connecting West Fife and Edinburgh.

Stagecoach East Scotland has registered five autonomous vehicles which will operate across the Forth Bridge from Monday, May 15.

The Alexander Dennis Enviro200AV buses will cover a 14-mile route in mixed traffic at up to 50mph between Ferrytoll Park and Ride at Inverkeithing and Edinburgh Park Transport Exchange.

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Carla Stockton-Jones, UK Managing Director for Stagecoach said: "We are excited to introduce the UK’s first autonomous bus fleet in East Scotland which is also home to our headquarters and where it all began over 40 years ago.

"We are proud to be at the forefront of transport innovation with this project that marks a significant milestone for public transport and we look forward to welcoming our customers on board in the coming months."

The service will operate a frequent timetable with the capacity for around 10,000 passenger journeys per week and will have two members of staff on board – a safety driver to monitor the technology and a 'captain' in the saloon to take tickets and answer questions.

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Jamie Wilson, Head of Concepts & Advanced Engineering for Alexander Dennis, said: "This is a thrilling milestone for this ambitious project which we are delighted to be delivering with our partners.

"Our Enviro200AV autonomous buses will demonstrate latest innovation in vehicle technology and we are delighted that passengers travelling between Fife and Edinburgh will be able to experience this for themselves when the service launches next month."

Training is now underway for 20 staff members in preparation for the launch.

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Kevin Stewart, Scottish Minister for Transport, said: "This is an exciting milestone for this innovative and ambitious project, and I very much look forward to seeing Project CAVForth take to the roads next month.

"Our trunk road network can provide a wide range of environments as a diverse testing ground, and the ground-breaking and globally significant Project CAVForth will really help Scotland establish its credentials on the world stage."