Last Rides in Coffs Harbour’s BusBot Driverless Technology Trial

Bus Bot is monitored by remote supervisors.


COFFS Harbour public transport customers are the first in the world to travel on a fully automated bus in a public setting on the BusBot and have provided valuable feedback to keep the driverless trial going.

The trialling of BusBot is in its final phase as the NSW Government extends its trial of world-leading driverless technology in a regional area.

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The innovative program is delivered by Busways and locals can catch the last rides, as part of the trial, on Saturday 27 November at the North Coast Regional Botanic Gardens.

During the trial BusBot has also taken passengers on the Marina and through Marian Grove Retirement Village.

Member for Coffs Harbour Gurmesh Singh said the final phase of the BusBot trial sees the shuttle service continue to operate without a driver or a supervisor on board, as the NSW Government extends its trial of world-leading driverless technology in a regional area.

Mr Singh said regional NSW is leading the way in exploring how automated vehicle technology can help deliver a more reliable and accessible public transport offering.

“BusBot has transported more than ten thousand locals and visitors through parts of Coffs Harbour since it was launched in partnership with operator Busways, tech provider EasyMile and Coffs Harbour City Council in December 2018.

“The vehicle is showing the Coffs Harbour community what the future of transport looks like.

“The regional BusBot trial has achieved many world firsts and has been a vital window into what lies ahead for commuters across the transport network,” he said.

“BusBot has laid the groundwork for the next stage in automated transport – larger-scale buses and more sophisticated technology in mixed traffic environments.

“BusBot is also looking after customer needs right now by operating in a COVID-safe way, with check-in, mask wearing and reduced capacity on the shuttle service.”

Busways Managing Director Byron Rowe said the BusBot trial combined innovation with community needs in a real-world setting.

“This is the pinnacle we have been working towards with careful and considered steps for two-and-a-half years.

“Success has relied on having the right partners at the table, including community, government and industry,” Mr Rowe said.

EasyMile’s Managing Director for Asia-Pacific Greg Giraud said this next stage will provide vital information and shape future projects.

“This is a critical step in the global move towards shared, driverless transport.

“It is also a key contribution to the legal and regulatory framework for the public deployment of autonomous vehicles,” Mr Giraud said.

Managing Director of Busways, Byron Rowe, said, “The zero emissions BusBot is a great match for places like the Botanic Gardens where it can carry passengers quietly and unobtrusively, enabling people of all mobilities to enjoy the peaceful and pristine garden environment.

“I’d like to congratulate the Coffs Harbour community for playing such a vital role in providing public feedback for the BusBot trial so far, which has been nationally recognised, winning the 2019 Australian Intelligent Transport Systems Award for Automated Vehicles.”


By Sandra MOON


MP Stephen Bromhead and Gurmesh SIngh met for the BusBot trial launch last year at the botanical gardens.

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