by Rebecca Merrett

WA Department of Transport to trial driverless shuttle bus

Feb 10, 2016
GovernmentInnovationIT Management

The Department of Transport in Western Australia has announced it will trial an autonomous shuttle bus, the first of its kind in Australia.

The department will use NAVYA SAS technology, which is a French company that specialises in intelligent transport systems. NAVYA launched its autonomous shuttle in October 2015.

The vehicle has radar cruise control, lane detection warning systems, 3D perception sensors and object detection, GPS RTK (real time kinematic), and odometer to estimate its velocity.

The vehicle is also 100 per cent electrical, meaning it does not produce any CO2.

Fifteen passengers can travel in the driverless shuttle bus at a time. The shuttle currently only reaches a maximum speed of 45 kilometres per hour. With that speed limit, it is optimal for compact urban environments, hospitals, schools, industrial sites or anywhere it’s best to drive at slow to moderate speeds.

The Minister for WA Department of Transport, Dean Nalder, said the driverless vehicle will eventually go live on Perth roads, after the trials take place throughout this year.

“It is not a matter of if this technology will come to WA, but when it will, and that time is fast approaching,” he said in a statement.

The department is partnering with motoring and insurance company, RAC, to ensure the vehicle complies with road and vehicle safety standards in Australia. The trials will take place at RAC Driving Centre in Perth.

“To ensure we are working towards providing the best integrated and intelligent transport services and solutions for the state, it is important to trial new innovative modes of transport, and this is one of those modes,” Nalder said.

In November 2015, South Australia went live with a driverless car, a first for any driverless vehicle to hit public roads in Australia. The Volvo XC90 was tested at speeds of up to 70km/h on a closed section of Adelaide’s Southern Expressway.