Newcastle's driverless shuttle about to start trial

Wednesday, 10 July, 2019

Newcastle's driverless shuttle about to start trial

Newcastle is one step closer to a brave new world of automated transport with the unveiling of the city’s new driverless shuttle bus.

The 11-seater vehicle was revealed by Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes at Keolis Downer’s Hamilton depot, where safety testing will soon commence.

“This is a major milestone for the city’s smart city journey, and I look forward to working with Transport for NSW and partners Keolis Downer on this unique opportunity to make the future of automated transport in Newcastle a reality as we transform the city into a living lab,” Nelmes said.

“The city’s vision for a smart, integrated transport network begins in earnest with the arrival of this new driverless vehicle, which we propose connecting with Newcastle’s integrated public transport network.”

Keolis Downer New Mobilities Manager Sue Wiblin said the trial will be conducted in compliance with national and state legislation and regulations to ensure it meets all safety standards.

“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,” said Wiblin.

“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.”

Although the vehicle is fully automated, a chaperone will always be aboard during operations, able to stop the vehicle if needed.

A 12-month trial will determine demand for the driverless vehicle and assess its suitability for mixed-traffic transport scenarios in Newcastle.

Pictured: Keolis Downer Hunter General Manager Mark Dunlop, along with Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes (middle) and Keolis Downer New Mobilities Manager Sue Wiblin. Courtesy NCC.

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