University of Melbourne launches autonomous shuttle bus

The University of Melbourne has launched its own autonomous mini shuttle bus, which will support students researching and developing autonomous technology.

The bus, supplied by French autonomous vehicle developer EasyMile, is designed for low-speed urban environments and is part of a three-year partnership with the company.

The university’s Vice Chancellor, Glyn Davis, said the vehicle would provide researchers with unprecedented access to autonomous technology, offering research and development opportunities for students.

“The world is on the edge of a transport revolution,” said Professor Davis. “Technology is transforming the transport industry, impacting not only the way we travel, but also the way we live.

“Having our own autonomous vehicle at the University of Melbourne gives students and academics the opportunity to focus their research projects on real-life transport solutions to improve safety, sustainability and reduce congestion.”

The partnership will also see the university become EasyMile’s innovation hub in Australia and New Zealand.

“This vehicle is a functioning example of what the future of mobility for end users looks like, combining the benefits and flexibility of the technology with the economy of group transportation,” said Head of EasyMile Asia Pacific Simon Pearce.

University of Melbourne Professor in Transport for Smart Cities and AIMES Director Majid Sarvi said: “The benefits of autonomous vehicles are only realised if they are connected with other transport solutions.

“By partnering with EasyMile through projects such as the University’s Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES) – a world-first living laboratory based in the streets of Melbourne – we are able to test highly integrated transport technology that make a real difference to people’s lives.”