NSW launches trial of driverless shuttle bus

Driverless ‘smart shuttle’ coming to Sydney Olympic Park

The New South Wales government has launched the state’s first trial of an automated ‘smart shuttle’ bus in Sydney’s Olympic Park.

The two-year trial will begin later this month, according to transport minister Andrew Constance.

“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,” the minister said.

NSW freight minister Melinda Pavey said that the initial stage of the trial will involve off-road testing and safety checks at Newington Armory.

“We will then extend the trial to public use with the shuttle making the rounds on the roads at Sydney Olympic Park,” the minister said.

Pavey said the government expects office workers at Olympic Park to begin using the automated shuttle next year.

The government yesterday introduced the Transport Legislation Amendment (Automated Vehicle Trials and Innovation) Bill 2017 in NSW’s Legislative Assembly, with the aim of facilitating trials of autonomous driving technology such as the smart shuttle.

The smart shuttle trial is being conducted in collaboration with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority, the NSW government said.

Earlier this year the state government foreshadowed the introduction of legislation to facilitate safe and legal trials for connected and automated vehicles.

Read more: US wants to smooth regulatory path to to self-driving vehicles

In September, a NSW parliamentary inquiry found that automated vehicle technology has the potential to reduce death and injuries on the state’s roads that result from factors such as driver fatigue, driver distraction, speed and inexperience

Sydney is not the first Australian capital to play host to a driverless bus: Last year, the RAC Intellibus began trials in Perth.

In May, the National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads have released national guidelines for trials of automated vehicles on Australian roads.

In June, the ACT government revealed it would help fund tests of autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technology.

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