The UK’s first self-driving electric bus service has been unveiled at a business and technology park in Oxfordshire.

The buses will be operated by First Bus, as part of a project to explore “the art of the possible”. The pilot project will analyse how passengers, drivers, other road users and pedestrians respond to autonomous buses, the company said.

The project involves two all-electric fully autonomous vehicles on public roads. The self-driving minibus is already in operation, with a full-size single-decker to be added later this year for journeys between the park and Didcot Parkway railway station.

The £4.3m project received a £3m grant from the government alongside commercial and private sector funding.

The trial, which began on Monday (23 January), will start taking passengers in February.

In addition to the vehicles being fitted with autonomous technology including cameras and sensors, the buses will have a safety driver who is able to take over at any point and take full manual control if needed.