Busbot driverless shuttle hits phase 2 in Toormina NSW
The trial of Busbot, a driverless shuttle bus already operating in phase one in Coffs Harbour, has moved into it second phase, a trial within the Marian Grove Retirement Village in Toormina, on the NSW Mid North Coast.
Partners in the project are Transport for NSW, Busways, Via, and EasyMile. The driverless shuttle is a Easy Mile EZ10, carrying up to 14 passengers.
‘If autonomous vehicles are to reach their full potential for providing low-cost, efficient rides, they need to be shared by multiple passengers,’ said Daniel Ramot, co-founder and CEO of Via. ‘Via’s sophisticated systems are able to power, in real-time, the movement of millions of connected autonomous shuttles and their passengers, and we’re delighted to be working with BusBot to launch this groundbreaking service.’
The shuttle was initially deployed in Marian Grove Retirement Village in April 2019, and the plan is to have the trial run for 22 weeks. During that period the service is free, and prospective passengers use the BusBot app on their iOS and Android smartphones to book their trips. The app will direct passengers to the nearest stop, while algorithms help efficiently manage routes and wait times.
‘This trial is about understanding how automated vehicles can improve transport options in rural and regional communities. It’s about answering questions like – how will they work? What benefits will they provide? What do we need to do to put the infrastructure and technology in to support their operations?’ said Byron Rowe, Managing Director of Busways.
UPDATE: 21 November 2019
The Busbot trial was a shared winner of the Automated Vehicle Award at the 2019 ITS Australia Awards. It shared the prize with an iMOVE project, the Cooperative and Highly Automated Driving Safety Study. Congratulations to both!