RAA and Flinders Uni to trial self-driving vehicles on Adelaide roads
Tuesday, 21st Mar 2017
RAA and Flinders University have partnered to be among the first to purchase and trial self-driving vehicles on South Australian roads in real world conditions, thanks to receiving a grant from the South Australian Government’s Future Mobility Lab Fund.
The five year project will initially test a self-driving shuttle bus at Flinders University’s Tonsley campus, and eventually move to the Bedford Park campus, and the Flinders Medical Centre prior to running it on public roads in and around Tonsley, Oaklands Park and Marion.
Mark Borlace, RAA’s Senior Manager Future Mobility, says the trial will have a number of different aspects.
“Trialling a self-driving vehicle in real world conditions will allow us to test and integrate this new technology as a first and last mile solution to Adelaide’s public transport systems.
“We know that many of our members are hesitant to embrace the concept of a self-driving vehicle, after a survey revealed just 23 per cent said they’d feel safe in a car that drives itself.
“This trial will give members of the public an opportunity to see and experience the technology first hand,” Mr Borlace says.
Professor Rocco Zito, head of Civil Engineering at Flinders University, says the trial is not just about refining the technology, but building public confidence.
“In order for driverless vehicles to become an integral part of our transport system we need to have trials that, prove the technology under real world conditions, and encourage public participation. This last mile public transport trial meets both of these objectives,” Professor Zito says.
RAA and Flinders University will work with a team of South Australian, Australian and international businesses during this trial to not only understand the new technologies but to assess the opportunities for South Australian businesses that may arise from the emergence of these technologies.
These companies will include Cohda Wireless, SAGE, ZenEnergy, Transdev, Ultimate Positioning Group, Renewal SA, and the local agencies of Telstra and Siemens who will provide the infrastructure to both communicate with and re-charge the shuttle using renewable energy, which will ensure the trial is carbon neutral.
“The public will be able to track the shuttle’s location and route via a real-time webpage, and will also be able to book seats on board the shuttle,” Mr Borlace says.
“All passengers on the shuttle will be asked to provide feedback in order to gauge the attitudes of the public to the technology over time.”