Shuttle gets LOST during launch of Scotland's driverless bus service

Shuttle gets LOST during launch of Scotland's driverless bus service

October 7, 2022

Chaos on launch day for Scotland’s first driverless bus system as ‘technical glitches’ saw one of the electric shuttles get LOST – forcing a human operator to drive instead

  • The shuttle service is nicknamed Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Driverless Machiney
  • The launch day of the driverless busses saw chaos as one shuttle got lost 
  • Technical glitches meant the bus was stuck in one place for more than an hour 
  • Almost two hours after the launch ceremony, the busses were manually driven 

There was chaos on the launch day of Scotland’s first driverless bus service nicknamed ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Driverless Machiney’, when one of the electric shuttles got lost.

The launch has been delayed after ‘technical glitches’ that saw the service have to be manually driven.

The missing shuttle was stuck in one place for more than hour as its radar – which has lasers that help it figure out where it is, malfunctioned.

‘It would have to be today of all days. It couldn’t have been yesterday when it was up here for six hours doing its stuff,’ stagecoach driver Iain Craven told The Press and Journal.

There was chaos on the launch day of Scotland’s first driverless bus service nicknamed ‘Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Driverless Machiney’ when one of the electric shuttles got lost

The launch has been delayed after ‘technical glitches’ that saw the service have to be manually driven

Representatives for bus operator Stagecoach and regional transport operator Hitrans tried to get the vehicle on its way during the shuttle service’s official opening ceremony at 11am.

By 12.45pm the bus, which runs 18 miles through Inverness Campus and the Inverness Retail and Business Park, had to be taken over and driven manually. 

Mr Craven said: ‘There’s a problem with its lidar, which basically means its radar which has lasers.

‘‘It can’t quite figure out exactly where it is at the moment. Everything else seems to be working on it.’

Two of the three technical glitches have been sorted out but the third is going to take more time.

Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Driverless Machiney has a capacity of up to 15 passengers and is a first for Scotland.

The missing shuttle was stuck in one place for more than hour as its radar – which has lasers that help it figure out where it is, malfunctioned

The vehicle uses sensors to guide its way through a pre-taught route but there are humans onboard in case more malfunctions crop up.

The shuttle service is free to use until March next year.

Scottish minister for transport Jenny Gilruth said their aim is to have Scotland at the ‘forefront of the connected mobility and autonomous vehicle industry’ and that Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Driverless Machiney was an exciting development.

She added the trial shows Scotland is ‘very much open for business’ when it comes to these ventures and wished those involved every success.

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