DRIVERLESS buses that will take passengers across the Forth Road Bridge next year have been unveiled.

Five single-deck buses will run from Fife to Edinburgh in 2020 carrying up to 10,000 people a week as part of a year-long trial.

They will be operated by Stagecoach East Scotland and travel between Ferrytoll park and ride in Inverkeithing and the Edinburgh Park train and tram interchange.

A major summit was held in Glasgow yesterday (Wednesday) showcasing the first full-sized autonomous bus in Europe as part of the CAVForth project.

Speaking after the Connected and Autonomous Vehicles Summit (CAV Scotland), transport secretary Michael Matheson, said: "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."

Although they will be equipped with autonomous tech, including radar and cameras, a driver will be on board during every journey to comply with UK regulations.

Each service is capable of carrying up to 42 passengers the 14 miles across the bridge, with capacity for up to 10,000 people a week.

The Alexander Dennis Enviro200 bus demonstrated at CAV Scotland has already carried out extensive trials at Stagecoach's depot in Manchester in the first part of the autonomous bus project.

Following this success, Stagecoach, Alexander Dennis and Fusion Processing Ltd are now working with Transport Scotland, Bristol Robotics Laboratory and Napier University on Project CAVForth.

Martin Griffiths, chief executive of Stagecoach Group, added: “Stagecoach has always been at the forefront of innovation and we have a strong and successful track record in harnessing new technology to launch new products and break new ground. We’re therefore very pleased to be leading the way in Scotland’s first autonomous bus trial.

“Our industry, customers and employees can benefit hugely from autonomous technology as it can make services safer, more efficient and help to deliver better journeys.

"We’re also investing heavily in the skills and development of our people.

"Alongside new technology developments, our employees will continue to play a critical role in delivering sustainable mobility services that our customers trust and rely on.”