Image: Transport For NSW
Modern life doesn’t quite resemble Futurama just yet, but Sydney is certainly one step closer with arrival of the first driverless and automated bus service at Olympic Park.
Transport Minister Andrew Constance and Roads and Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey today launched a two-year trial of a driverless shuttle bus in NSW, joining forces with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG and Sydney Olympic Park Authority.
“The trial, starting later this month, showcases a small part of our much bigger vision for a technology-enabled transport future,” Mr Constance said.
“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.”
Ms Constance said the trial would help harness the “next generation of driverless technology” while answering questions about safety and reliability.
“The first stage of the trial would conduct tests and safety checks in a secure, off-road environment. This testing is underway at Newington Armory where the shuttle will run autonomously on a preprogramed route,” she said.
“We will then extend the trial to public use with the shuttle making the rounds on the roads at Sydney Olympic Park.”
Mrs Pavey says Sydney Olympic Park staff would be using the automated shuttle next year, becoming the first to test-ride this new technology before we start seeing it on our roads.
“This trial is not only about automated vehicles, it is also about connectivity,” she said.
“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. 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.”
The NSW Government established the Smart Innovation Centre, to work with industry to develop trials like this and explore smarter solutions for future transport plans.
Legislation to allow to trial to go ahead has been introduced into Parliament.