‘BusBot’ driverless vehicle trial takes home Automated Vehicle Award from prestigious intelligent transport systems event, validating potential of autonomous vehicles for regional transport
28 November 2019 (Toulouse, France) – Busways’ On Demand, shared automated vehicle pilot for regional public transport, known as the BusBot Project, operated in partnership with Transport for NSW, Coffs Harbour City Council, EasyMile, Via and Papercast, won the award last Thursday.
The prestigious program is in its 10th year with nominees for each category determined by a ten-person judging panel made up of intelligent transport systems professionals, representing industry, government and academia.
BusBot, operated in the coastal New South Wales town of Coffs Harbour, is the first Australian study of driverless shuttles in regional communities, gaining international interest, verifying real use-cases and proving to be of real value to a range of resident groups. Project development, safety assurance and operation were successfully delivered, developing a sustainable business model and blueprint which can be scaled to multiple operations around the country to accelerate the safe introduction of automated vehicles (AVs) onto Australian and international roads.
Greg Giraud, Managing Director for EasyMile ANZ said “Autonomous vehicles will change the way we transport people and the BusBot project is a great opportunity to demonstrate how driverless technology can address mobility and transport challenges.
In a groundbreaking world first, BusBot combined driverless and on-demand technologies transporting passengers in a mixed traffic and open roads environment.
We strongly believe that transport should be accessible and equitable to everyone regardless of geography and age or disability, and BusBot proudly provided mobility and independence to the elderly community; more than simply moving passengers from point A to B, it enabled social inclusion and a better lifestyle as residents could easily and safely move around.
At a time where we need the public’s vote on autonomous vehicle technology, projects such as these are essential to understand how passengers and other road users interact with driverless technology, and increase community acceptance.
This project was made possible thanks to the collaboration of multiple project partners and I would like to commend and thank Busways, Transport for NSW, Coffs Harbour City Council, VIA and Papercast for their commitment and for taking the lead on transport innovation.”
Byron Rowe, Managing Director of Busways, said “Busways has been thrilled to lead this innovative trial in our own backyard. To see Transport for NSW bring trials to regional towns such as Coffs Harbour proves how important it is to identify the transport needs of these residents and what works for them. Congratulations to the teams involved in such a successful trial of BusBot”.
The BusBot trial involves three phases, each testing specific transport use cases for tourism; retirement villages or closed-off communities; and recreation in diverse environments and increasing levels of complexity. The trial is determining barriers and opportunities for delivering new AV mobility options and improving transport options in rural and regional communities.
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