Autonomous bus service begins in SA

An autonomous bus service has now begun operating in the suburbs north of Adelaide. Vehicles built by French autonomous vehicle manufacturer Easy Mile are operating the trial, launched by the state government of South Australia and the City of Playford.

The trial will operate a service between the Playford Alive Township and the Munno Para train station, in the suburbs north of Adelaide.

“The Marshall Government is continuing to explore innovative opportunities to provide better public transport services,” said Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government Stephan Knoll.

The trial is supported by funding from the South Australian government’s Future Mobility Lab, which aims to encourage and stimulate developments in connected and autonomous vehicles.

“This trial is a great example of how we can embrace new technology to deliver better services and fill gaps that exist in our network,” said Knoll.

The bus will run every half hour on weekdays and stop and make stops between the township and the train station.

According to Damian Hewitt, general manager transport for SAGE Group, the trial provides an opportunity for autonomous systems to be tested in a non-laboratory setting.

“Partnering with Easy Mile and being responsible for the operation of the trial enables SAGE to deploy technologies that enhance safety performance, user experience and increased patronage on public transport,” said Hewitt.

The service will operate in roads shared with cars driven by humans, thus ensuring that EasyMile’s vehicles must operate and respond to other vehicles.

“As the project takes place in an open road environment, it is also about understanding how passengers and other road users interact with driverless technology,” said Greg Giraud, managing director for EasyMile ANZ.

The autonomous vehicle trial occurs in a suburb next to where Holden once manufactured vehicles in Elizabeth. The trial will hopefully demonstrate the future of vehicle manufacturing in South Australia.

“We are proud to be playing a part in shaping future transport mobility for communities like ours,” said City of Playford Mayor Glenn Docherty.

“As a growing city we are embracing technology to transition from traditional industries into the digital economy.”