New mobility trials coming to Regional NSW
"“We want to test this technology outside of the Greater Sydney area so that our regional communities can be part of our future planning when it comes to driverless vehicles."
Transport for NSW is keen to spread transport innovation all over the state, with its requests for expressions of interest in trials of “emerging connected and automated vehicles” in regional NSW.
A press conference announcing the enterprise was held late last week in Wagga Wagga, hosted by The Hon. Melinda Pavey, the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Daryl Maguire, the Member for Wagga Wagga, and Wesley Fang, a Member of the Legislative Council.
While Transport NSW is currently trialling a Navya driverless bus in Sydney, this call for regional NSW trials spreads the net a little wider. It is not looking to merely replicate the Navya trial in country NSW, rather it is looking at all forms of connected and automated vehicles, and input from any number of technologies and enterprises:
“Transport for NSW is seeking to provide seed funding and partner with industry, researchers and local councils to develop and co-deliver a number of connected and automated vehicle trials across regional NSW.”
Trials will focus on customer mobility use cases and investigate the benefits and challenges involved in introducing emerging connected and automated vehicle technology to country NSW.
“We want to hear from the leaders in technology, industry innovators, local councils, universities and community transport operators to explore this exciting area of technology,” said Mr Maguire.
While the trial sites have yet to be decided, it was mentioned at the launch event that regional cities with populations in excess of 30,000 are likely choices.
Transport NSW is looking at the second half of 2018 for the “best trials” to begin.
The importance of trials in regional Australia
The move to trial outside Sydney is of importance for more than merely being democratic with technology.
“We want to test this technology outside of the Greater Sydney area so that our regional communities can be part of our future planning when it comes to driverless vehicles,” said Mrs Pavey.
“Country people account for only one third of the state’s population but tragically two thirds of all fatalities in NSW occur in country areas. Currently, 94 per cent of road accidents result from human error. Automated vehicles remove the human element of driving, which will help bring the road toll down Towards Zero.
“There’s still some way to go before automated vehicles become common place on our roads, but as a government, we’re exploring smarter systems and technology-driven solutions,” Mrs Pavey said.
How can you get involved in the trials?
Firstly, for those in the industry, Transport for NSW is holding an Industry Briefing on 13 December. It begins at 2pm, and will be held at The Grace Hotel. Click here (before 8 December) to register your place at the event.
Tender details, and instructions on how to submit an expression of interest, can be found on the eTendering page for these trials.
Transport for NSW will beholding additional collaboration events in early February 2018, at Wagga Wagga, Armidale, and Coffs Harbour.
For more information, and an email address to write to, visit Transport for NSW’ Smart Innovation Centre’s website.