World-first automated bus hits next stop in Coffs Harbour

The BusBot trialling an electric, automated, driverless public shuttle service at the Coffs Harbour Botanic Garden.

 

“YOU wait ages for one bus…then three come along together” might just become redundant as trials of electric, automated transport move forwards.

Coffs Harbour transport customers will be the first in the world to climb aboard a fully automated public shuttle bus to operate without a supervisor or a driver, as the NSW Government extends its trial of world leading technology in a regional area.

This step continues the trial of public transport electric vehicles to assist the government in their goal of moving to a fully electric fleet by 2030.

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Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Paul Toole said the next phase of the BusBot trial would see the public shuttle service operate at the Coffs Harbour Botanic Garden in true driverless mode, making it the first automated passenger shuttle bus service to reach this global milestone.

“This is world-leading technology being pioneered in Coffs Harbour, exploring how automated vehicle technology can help deliver a more reliable and accessible public transport offering, and implement services in new areas.”

While there is no supervisor on board, the vehicle will be monitored remotely.

Gurmesh Singh, Member for Coffs Harbour said the vehicle had proven popular since the trial launched in partnership with operator Busways, tech provider EasyMile and Coffs Harbour City Council in December 2018.

“We first saw the BusBot operate with a supervisor around the Northern Breakwall and the Marian Grove Retirement Village, before starting at the Botanic Garden in 2020, so it’s exciting to hit the next milestone by now removing that supervisor,” Mr Singh said.

“The Coffs Harbour community has been thrilled to be a part of this history-making trial, with more than 10,000 locals and visitors between the ages of one and 103 taking part.”

Busways Managing Director Byron Rowe said, “We are proud to work closely with the NSW Government and its commitment to explore future travel options to make transport even more accessible and convenient for communities for decades to come.”

 

By Andrea FERRARI

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