City of Newcastle plans autonomous vehicle trials

The New South Wales city of Newcastle has announced plans to join a number of other Australian cities in trialling autonomous vehicles in public, as it seeks proposals from operators to run an autonomous vehicle on local roads.

Newcastle’s trial will involve a small driverless shuttle capable of carrying around 12 people through some of the city’s most scenic areas.

“Automated shuttles and driverless car technologies are at the cutting-edge of transport,” said Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes. “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.”

In its tender documents, Newcastle outlines a range of outcomes to be delivered during the trial, including demonstrating that autonomous vehicles are suitable for use in urban environments and testing the suitability of Newcastle’s smart city infrastructure to support autonomous vehicle operation.

The trial will also be used to assist in the development of local, state and federal regulations required to facilitate and accelerate the use of autonomous shuttles in city traffic.