The New South Wales government is hopping on board the automated express by trialling a new driverless shuttle bus at Sydney Olympic Park.
Under the two-year trial, in which the government has teamed up with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, the vast and expansive Olympic showground will be put to good use as the government hopes to explore the pros and cons of automated vehicle technology.
NSW Minister for Transport Andrew Constance said the trial, starting later this month, showcases a small part of our much bigger vision for a technology-enabled transport future.
“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,” Mr Constance said.
“The ultimate goal of the trial is to find the best way to harness the next generation of driverless technology and how to make it work for NSW while also answering questions about how it can improve safety and reliability.”
Mr Constance said 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.
“We will then extend the trial to public use with the shuttle making the rounds on the roads at Sydney Olympic Park,” he said.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said the government expects office workers at Sydney Olympic Park to be using the automated shuttle next year, becoming the first to test-ride this new technology before it’s seen on 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.