The Royal Auto Club (RAC) Intellibus has taken its first drive on Australian roads, commencing its trial in South Perth this week.
Based on the NAVYA Arma, Australia’s first fully driverless and electric shuttle bus will carry passengers along South Perth Esplanade between the Old Mill, near Narrows Bridge, and Sir James Mitchell Park.
Scanning the world around it are 2D and 3D Lidar sensors, which help the bus to detect and avoid objects, while stereovision cameras help it to ‘see’ traffic lights, other vehicles and anything else that might be on the road.
GPS and odometry systems help the bus to measure its location and its position relative to its starting location. The Intellibus is also equipped with autonomous emergency braking (AEB) to avoid collisions.
The Arma/Intellibus is rated at level five for autonomous technology, the highest and most advanced level, also making it the first fully-autonomous series production vehicle in the world.
Measuring 4.8m long, 2.05m wide and 2.6m tall, the Intellibus is roughly the size of a large people mover.
Operating at an average speed of 25km/h (max 45km/h), the Intellibus can transport up to 11 passengers at a time and will make RAC members and the WA community some of the first people in the world to experience a driverless vehicle on the road.
The shuttle first arrived in Western Australia (WA) in April, and since then the RAC has been working with the WA government, specialist technicians and the bus’s manufacturer, NAVYA, to launch testing of the Intellibus in a closed environment.
RAC Group CEO, Terry Agnew, said WA is a driving force behind exploring driverless vehicle technology, with the Intellibus not only being the first in the country, but one of the first in the world.
“This trial is an Australian-first, and will be a real trial incorporating members of the public travelling on public roads,” he said.
“The trial will help WA develop a roadmap of changes that will need to occur for driverless vehicles to safely transition on to our roads and become and integrated part of our transport system.”
Peter Damen, spokesperson for the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), congratulated the RAC, WA government and NAVYA on a successful trial.
“A driverless bus would provide a far safer and more convenient transport solution and result in fewer cars being used in inner urban and CBD locations, resulting in less congestion and significant environmental and safety benefits,” he said.
“Today’s WA event complements our successful on-road trial in November 2015, which saw a Volvo XC90 make motoring history by being the first driverless car to ever travel on an Australian road.”
“If Australia was originally founded on the sheep’s back, then our next planned demonstration will erase any doubt that our future will be carried on the back of driverless vehicle technology - and reinforce the safety and economic benefits that can be achieved,” he added.
People interested in hitching a ride on the RAC Intellibus can register online and participate in the trial. For more information head to racintellibus.com.au
Watch the above video to see the NAVYA Arma in action