AUSTRALIA, 02 November 2018 – The South Australian Government will be rolling out a regional trial of an autonomous shuttle in the Riverland regional community of Renmark in the latest round of the Future Mobility Lab Fund. French autonomous vehicle technology and smart mobility solutions company, EasyMile, in partnership with local company Transit Australia Group (TAG) and the Renmark Paringa Council, will receive funds to roll out a trial of the autonomous shuttle which will provide a service specifically focused on the mobility needs of the elderly community and tourism.
The two-year project will be the first regional trial in South Australia and will provide first and last mile connecting services that will link up the various elements of the community and also provide mobility for the elderly and tourists. The route will connect the areas of the Renmark CBD including the riverfront, the Renmark Club, aged care villages, swimming pool, library and the shopping precinct. The trial will also compliment existing regional bus and local transport services. Future phases of the project will also connect the other areas of Renmark based on community needs.
The trial will utilise the fully electric EZ10 autonomous shuttle from EasyMile, which can carry up to 14 people. The EZ10 autonomous shuttle follows a predefined route and is equipped with a full range of sensors to detect and avoid potential obstacles. Benefiting from the latest developments in robotics and artificial intelligence, it is today the most deployed autonomous shuttle in over 210 sites across 24 countries. EasyMile’s EZ10 autonomous shuttle is also already operating in South Australia at Elizabeth Vale.
The autonomous shuttle service will run at 15 minute intervals and will be free to ride with no booking required. Passengers will be able to board the autonomous bus at designated pick up points along the route. It is anticipated that the service will become operational in the first quarter of 2019. A safety operator will be on board the autonomous shuttle at all times during the trial.
The project will also see EasyMile sourcing and upskilling local businesses in Renmark Paringa by providing training in operations and maintenance to support the operations centre at Edinburgh operated by TAG. It is anticipated that the trial will attract other new industries related to autonomous driving technology and help to develop a local ecosystem that supports and compliments the deployment of autonomous technologies in industries in the Riverland.
EasyMile, in partnership with TAG, will establish Operational Control Centre capabilities in South Australia to support and monitor its multiple autonomous vehicle operations across Australia. This is on the back of EasyMile establishing its Australian headquarters in Adelaide.
“Trialing of autonomous vehicle technology in Renmark will help to determine the best way to address and deliver public transport to our regional communities. We are keen to see how an autonomous bus service can provide a first and last mile transport solution that meets the needs of a regional community, particularly in terms of servicing the elderly, tourists and the locals. Of interest is how this solution will integrate with the existing regional bus operations enabling people to use the autonomous shuttle to travel the first mile to the regional bus stop to catch the traditional bus or coach service that take them to other areas of the region like Berri or to Adelaide.” said South Australia’s Minister for Transport, the Hon. Stephan Knoll.
“The trial is being conducted on a public road, with interactions between the autonomous shuttle and the local traffic, parked cars, cyclists and pedestrians. This will help us assess the Renmark Paringa’s passengers’ experience and response to driverless technology. This is an ideal location to demonstrate the potential of this very innovative technology. It is a growing regional city and is embracing technology as it transitions from traditional industries into the digital economy. Autonomous vehicles will be an exciting component of Renmark Paringa’s smart city program.” said Managing Director of EasyMile Australia, Simon Pearce
*Update: SAGE has taken over the operations of the trial since January 2019 and will continue to manage operations until October 2019.
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