Ministers from New South Wales yesterday declared that the future of automated vehicles had arrived in the Australian state, with the launch of its first driverless shuttle bus trial.
The two-year trial, taking place in Sydney’s Olympic Park, was launched by NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance and Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey.
New South Wales is working with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG and Sydney Olympic Park Authority on the trial of its first automated Smart Shuttle.
“The trial, starting later this month, showcases a small part of our much bigger vision for a technology-enabled transport future,” said Constance.
“Today we drive our cars but the reality is, cars will soon drive us and while we are not there yet, we need to be prepared for this change and we need to stay ahead of the game.”
“The ultimate goal of the trial is to find the best way to harness the next generation of driverless technology and how to make it work for NSW while also answering questions about how it can improve safety and reliability.”
During the first stage of the trial, the shuttle will run autonomously on a pre-programmed route in an off-road environment to allow tests and safety checks to take place.
The trial will then be extended for public use. The self-driving, fully electric shuttle can carry up to 15 people and will travel around Sydney’s Olympic Park, where office workers are expected to become the first to test-ride the technology next year.
“This trial is not only about automated vehicles, it is also about connectivity,” said Pavey.
“We want to use the trial to help develop the systems that will enable automated vehicles to be connected to our infrastructure, like traffic lights and to our customers through their devices and applications.
The self-driving, fully electric shuttle can carry up to 15 people
“It’s the combination of connectivity and automation that will provide the safety and mobility benefits we are looking for.
“There is still some way to go before automated shuttles become common place on Australian roads, but as a Government we are ready to take the next step and from here all sorts of possibilities open up for transport in NSW.”
Dean Zabrieszach, CEO of HMI Technologies Australia, said: “The concept of automated vehicles seamlessly transporting people and goods and addressing congestion has captured the imagination of the public.”
Earlier this year, HMI Technologies was involved in the unveiling of a fully autonomous shuttle trial at Christchurch Airport in New Zealand.