In December 2017, Transport for NSW announced that it was looking to trial emerging connected and automated vehicles in regional NSW. It made good on the announcement, with upcoming trials of driverless shuttles in Coffs Harbour and Armidale.
“We want to test this technology outside of the Greater Sydney area so our regional communities can be part of our planning for connected and automated vehicles,” said NSW Minister for Roads Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey.
This expansion into regional NSW follows earlier trials of a driverless shuttle in Sydney’s Olympic Park. The vehicle for the Coffs Harbour trial is an Easy Mile EZ10, carrying up to 14 passengers. Other partners in this trial include Coffs Harbour City Council, Busways, and Via.
“We’ll be implementing what we’ve already learnt from Olympic Park but this trial will be tailored to Coffs Harbour helping deliver improved transport solutions for regional NSW as we prepare our communities for the future,” said Andrew Constance, NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure.
When? And where in Coffs Harbour?
The driverless shuttle trial will commence in Coffs Harbour in late 2018, and will run for 12 months. The trial will involve three phases:
- A shuttle service travelling to Muttonbird Island, operating on the Northern Breakwall connecting Coffs Harbour International Marina and Muttonbird Island
- The shuttle will move to Marion Grove Retirement Village
- Operate on Harbour Drive in Coffs Harbour CBD, helping people travel between precincts and transport links
It might be a driverless shuttle, but for the duration of this trial there will be a supervisor on board at all times.
At the time of writing there is no information on the Armidale trial other than that it is planned.
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