19th June 2018
Shuttle trial offers a glimpse into a smarter public transport future
The Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) says the launch of daily driverless shuttle services at the Tonsley Innovation District for the Flinders Express trial is set to challenge mindsets of South Australians when it comes to public transport.
ADVI Executive Director, Ms Rita Excell, said the “first and last mile” option would showcase how commuters could take a bus, train or tram like normal – and then have a driverless shuttle take them to a station, home or elsewhere for the last part of their trip.
“The 2018 Public Transport Barometer found that South Australians are the worst in the nation when it comes to using public transport, so if we want that to change then we need to think differently about how we get around – and win the hearts and minds of commuters through these types of trials. Instead of walking to or from a station or leaving the car parked all day at an interchange, people could use a driverless shuttle to safely, conveniently and efficiently get to where they need to go,” Ms Excell said.
“This is a perfect solution for those who have to walk some distance to the nearest bus or tram stop, live in metro fringe areas where public transport options don’t currently exist, or when it’s just too hard to try and synchronise between catching a train and then swapping to a bus for the last leg of a journey,” she said.
“Integrating driverless shuttles with existing mass transport options like buses, trains and trams could ultimately reduce congestion levels and provide enhanced convenience and more affordable transport for users who can’t afford expensive costs of car ownership or have a health problem or other reasons that prevent them for having a licence.”
Ms Excell said the trial was also a critical first step towards encouraging people to swap the convenience of their own car with the affordability of a pick and drop-off service using driverless shuttles.
“Findings from a 2016 ADVI-commissioned survey found that nearly half (43%) of Australians are comfortable to travel on public transport (such as a bus or taxi) with no driver, while 46% were comfortable to share a driverless vehicle with other people – despite most yet to even have a driverless vehicle experience,” Ms Excell said.
“Congratulations must go to a number of ADVI partners for this outstanding trial initiative – in particular the project partners Flinders University, the Government of South Australia, and RAA,” she said.
“The Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative is working hard to attract autonomous vehicle companies to bring their technologies to Adelaide and develop a workable transport model for our local needs as part of their efforts to spearhead the driverless vehicle revolution around the world, so we are excited to see this trial go ahead.”
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About the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI)
ADVI is the peak body that spans the wide ecosystem of driverless vehicles in Australia and New Zealand. With a membership of 100 leading organisations across a wide range of sectors, ADVI offers a unique opportunity for Government to collaborate with Industry and researchers, to position Australia and New Zealand amongst the world leaders in the development and deployment of driverless technology. ADVI’s education, advocacy and demonstration efforts help to inform and raise awareness, encourage community acceptance, and ensure understanding of the economic, environmental and lifestyle benefits of driverless vehicles.