Driverless car gets trial in Coffs Harbour
SAWTELL'S Marian Grove Retirement Village is set to have a new automated driverless bus service as part of a program being trialed in the Coffs Harbour area.
The retirement village trial is phase two of the new program following on for a successful trial at the Northern Breakwall at Coffs over the Christmas New Year period from December 11 to February 7.
The second stage will see the shuttle move to Marian Grove - a location selected as a valuable test case, aimed at understanding the future benefit of automated customers, including improved quality of life and mobility for an aging population.
The shuttle has a ramp and wheel chair space, as well as an operator on board to assist residents if needed.
The trials are the first of their kind in a regional Australian city, and were originally announced in July this past year by Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey.
Minister Pavey then officially launched the vehicle on the Coffs Harbour Northern Breakwall on December 11.
"We wanted regional NSW to experience this technology first hand and I'm excited to see this trial get underway," she said.
"This is about doing our homework today so we can make our vehicles safer, improve mobility and help save lives on our roads."
The vehicle, an EasyMile EZ10 driverless shuttle known as BusBot, is set to be trialed around the region for at least the next 12 months through three unique phases, each testing varying levels of complexity.
"We invite the community to come and experience the vehicle, have a ride on it and tell us what they think," Managing Director of Busways, Byron Rowe, said.
"The more participation we achieve throughout the whole trial, the more relevant the lessons learnt will be for Coffs Harbour and for regional towns in general."
The Breakwall trial has been hailed a success according to a spokesperson for Busways, with official figures due out within the next month.
The second phase at the nursing home is due to start by the end of this month.