Driverless Bus on the Way

Filed under Council, News, Transport ~ by Press on  22 Apr 2019

A driverless vehicle is planned to run on Newcastle roads in 2019.

Council has chosen Keolis Downer to trial the autonomous public transport vehicle.

Pictured ~ Newcastle’s trial will involve a similar vehicle to one operating at La Trobe Uiversity.  Image courtesy Keolis Downer.

The trial is for a 12-seater shuttle around scenic areas including beaches and harbour front.

Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said the trial will place Newcastle amonst cities testing emerging technologies, and underline its “smart city” status.

Our vision is to be a smart, liveable and sustainable global city by 2030," the Lord Mayor said. "This project provides yet another great opportunity to showcase Newcastle’s smart city initiatives to a national and international audience.

Automated shuttles and driverless car technologies are at the cutting-edge of transport. This trial will help build our understanding of how the vehicles can fit into existing traffic-dominated cities and connect with existing transport networks.

City of Newcastle is partnering with a consortium of technology businesses to provide an integrated network for transport, energy and digital infrastructure to transform the city into a living lab."

The trial has a safety testing phase before people can ride the free shuttle.

The City’s tender documents outline a range of outcomes to be delivered during the trial, including:

    • Providing an autonomous vehicle for public use
    • Demonstrating that autonomous vehicles are suitable for use in urban environments
    • Testing the suitability of Newcastle’s smart city infrastructure to support autonomous vehicle operation
    • Assisting the development of local, state and federal regulations required to facilitate/accelerate the use of autonomous shuttles in urban public traffic.

    The trial is for at least a year as part of the Newcastle Smart City Strategy, which received $5m funding through the Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs program last year. 

    Autonomous vehicles are being tested around the world as cities, governments and communities embrace the emergence of driverless technology.

    Newcastle joins number of Australian cities trialling autonomous vehicles in public settings and full urban traffic.

    Legislation around autonomous vehicles in New South Wales still requires a trained human operator always on board the vehicle.

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