La Trobe University believes Victoria is ready for driverless vehicles after the successful trial of an autonomous bus on local roads.
The driverless "Autonobus" shuttle, manufactured by French company Navya, uses 360-degree cameras and sensor systems to detect objects and runs a set route based on map coordinates.
The electric bus has ferried hundreds of students around La Trobe's Bundoora campus in Melbourne’s north as part of a year long trial.
The vehicle was put through rigorous safety, technical, operational and passenger testing on a pre-programmed route, interacting with pedestrians, cars, buses and cyclists.
The trail was a collaboration between VicRoads, RACV, Keolis Downer, HMI Technologies (who supplied La Trobe with the vehicle) and ARRB and partly funded by the Victorian Government’s Smarter Journeys Program.
“The trial demonstrated autonomous buses can and should play an important role in the mobility mix as a complementary service to existing public transport,” Keolis Downer chief executive David Frank said.
“We now have the data to show they can operate safely within complex environments and that there is strong public support for them.”
“All levels of Governments and the private sector must work together to ensure we have the right infrastructure and regulatory systems in place to facilitate the deployment of autonomous vehicles and ensure they are integrated into the planning process for transport and urban developments.”
Chief executive of HMI Technologies, Dean Zabrieszach, said the Autonobus passed every test it underwent during more than six months operation at La Trobe University.
“No other trial in Australia has tested an autonomous vehicle of this type in such a dense urban location.
“We have demonstrated that it can be done - safely, without incident and in compliance with road safety laws.
“The technology is ready for deployment in other similar environments where there is high activity and a controlled set of circumstances, including first and last mile transport services.”