Friday, 12 May 2017 09:31

RAC set to expand driverless bus trials outside Australia


The RAC has expanded its collaboration with French manufacturer NAVYA to run trials of its autonomous vehicle Intellibus outside Australia.

The organisation says that it will soon commission trials in New Zealand, parts of South-East Asia and Japan and also provide technical services in this regard.

Last year, the RAC announced that it had been running Intellibus trials in Perth, on a trial route for 25 minutes. The driverless bus was travelling at an average speed of 25kmph, carrying up to 11 passengers.

RAC Group chief executive Terry Agnew said in a statement: "This exciting collaboration will see RAC co-ordinate the on-site commissioning of NAVYA vehicles in Australia, New Zealand, parts of South-East Asia and Japan as well as providing a range of technical support services..

“We are also focused on continuing to put automated technology to the test to help save lives and stop serious injuries on our roads, with human error estimated to cause around 90% of road crashes.

“With NAVYA autonomous vehicles being fully electric, this partnership also supports the development of environmentally sustainable transport options into the future.”


NAVYA chief executive Christophe Sapet said: “NAVYA is successfully delivering an ambitious programme to deploy our smart mobility systems all over the world and securing local technical support for our vehicle fleet reinforces our strong commitment to provide its customers with the best possible services in a timely fashion.

"RAC is already testing NAVYA vehicles in Western Australia and the partnership provides the potential for driverless vehicles to be operated in different environments across Australia and also internationally, including New Zealand, South East Asia and Japan."

Agnew said a longstanding objective of launching the first driverless vehicle trial in South Perth was to encourage and develop further trials, build research and also encourage wider collaboration.

"Ultimately our aim is to increase the understanding of how driverless vehicles can be integrated in to our transport system, and how they could best benefit the community," he said.

“As one of the most progressive shuttle trials in the world, every aspect of the RAC Intellibus project has been aimed at enhancing our experience and understanding of driverless technology.

"We’re continuing our own trials in WA, also contributing to a number of national working groups and research initiatives, and assisting with the development of policy to help ensure Australia is ready for the inevitable arrival of driverless vehicles.

"The more government, industry and the public all learn about and engage with driverless vehicles, the more prepared we will be to transition them on to our roads."



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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.




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