Driverless in Legoland

Filed under News, Transport ~ by Press on  10 Jul 2019

Automated transport has arrived in Newcastle with the City’s driverless shuttle bus.

The 11-seater vehicle was inspected at Keolis Downer’s Hamilton depot and undergo safety testing before passengers can use bus service along the harbour foreshore. 

KD Hunter General Manager Mark Dunlop with the Lord Mayor and KD’s Sue Wiblin.

The Lord Mayor said it was fascinating to inspect the driverless vehicle ahead of its initial 12-month trial.

This is a major milestone for the city’s smart city journey … as we transform the city into a living [transport] lab,” Councillor Nelmes said.

We are planning for passengers to be able to take in views of the City’s harbour along the proposed 2km loop service, from Watt Street along Wharf Road to Nobbys and back, making it very appealing to tourists.

A larger circuit will include some of Newcastle’s other beachside destinations after a couple of months.”

Keolis Downer New Mobilities Manager Sue Wiblin confirmed the trial was being developed in accordance with national and state legislation and regulations.

Over the next month, we will complete a rigorous safety testing program, on road and off road, to prepare the vehicle for customer services,” Ms Wiblin said.

In-built computers and sensing systems capable of detecting obstacles, anticipating movement and evaluating risk of collision, are what sets this vehicle apart from the risks associated with human-controlled cars.

These systems are capable of detecting vehicle movement and are also able determine the travel route, make decisions to slow down, brake and alternate the vehicle’s path if required.”

While the vehicle is fully automated, a chaperone, who will always be onboard during operations, will be able to stop the vehicle via an override system if required.

The trial will gauge demand for driverless vehicle operations and their suitability in mixed traffic and transport scenarios in Newcastle.

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