Australia’s first regional trial of an automated passenger vehicle.
The Coffs Harbour Automated Vehicle Trial was an exciting opportunity to test the possibility for technology to revolutionise the way passenger transport services are designed and delivered in rural and regional communities.
Automated vehicle technology has huge potential to improve the way we live and it’s important we give the community the opportunity to come on the journey as the technology develops.
The trial was a NSW Government initiative, being led in partnership between Transport for NSW, local bus operator Busways, Coffs Harbour City Council and vehicle manufacturer EasyMile.
The trial was be conducted in three phases to test the vehicle in three locations with increasing levels of complexity.
- Phase 1 is now complete and involved the vehicle travelling along along the Northern Breakwall to Muttonbird Island, a highly visible and controlled environment where local residents and tourists were able to experience the vehicle.
- Phase 2 is now complete and operated in Marian Grove Independent Living Village to test a more complex environment and the ability of AVs to address various mobility needs.
- Phase 3 is now complete and operated along a 2.6km path from the CBD to the jetty precinct using existing bus stops to complement current bus services.
Each phase offered an opportunity to explore the possibilities for different customer groups. This provided valuable insights for transport planners on how automated vehicles can address existing service gaps and barriers-to-use to create a better integrated transport network.
Involving customers was a key aspect of the trial because in the end this is about providing safety and transport improvements for the people of NSW.
Lessons learnt from the trial will influence how driverless vehicle technology could become part of the transport network of the future, and used to increase access for more people in the community.