The Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia (RAC) is trialling it’s driverless electric shuttle bus in the seaside town of Busselton.
The insurance company’s autonomous bus – the RAC Intellibus – has been carrying passengers around a route on open road in South Perth since 2016. As of last month 12,090 had travelled on the bus, which has navigated 19,737 km in autonomous mode and completed more than 5,639 thirty minute rides.
Until the end of this month, a second Intellibus will be in Busselton – a popular tourist town best known for being home to the longest wooden jetty in the Southern Hemisphere.
The bus – which can reach speeds of 45km per hour, but averages at around 25km per hour – is fully electric and uses light detection and ranging (LIDAR), stereovision cameras, GPS, odometry and autonomous emergency braking to detect and avoid obstacles and maintain its course. It is made by French manufacturer Navya.
It is considered to have 'Level 4' automation (as defined by SAE International standards) which means the vehicle can perform all safety critical driving functions without any occupants. For the Busselton trial, however, the Intellibus will have a human chaperone, who will share details about the program to riders.
The bus’s route goes east from Foreshore Parade and along Geographe Bay Road to the Busselton Volunteer Marine Rescue Centre.
Have you booked your ride on the RAC Intellibus yet? There is only a few weeks left to experience the fully automated, electric shuttle bus with @RACWA— City of Busselton (@CityBusselton) June 12, 2019
You could be just like the '90's Club' who last week booked their ride and travelled in style.https://t.co/rWVn4sXB0i pic.twitter.com/gUzUp30b3o
“This is one of the first times anywhere in the world that a regional community will get to experience driverless technology up close, which makes it a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what it could mean for WA and indeed Australia – especially in terms of road safety and accessible travel,” said Patrick Walker, RAC executive general manager, advocacy and members.
“We’re very excited to bring the RAC Intellibus to Busselton and to provide more Western Australians the chance to learn about driverless vehicles in the best way possible – by taking a ride in one,” Walker added.
The trial runs from Wednesday to Sunday until June 30.