SCOTLAND-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.

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 0government.

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.