All aboard the driverless bus

The ‘Autonobus’
The ‘Autonobus’

A driverless shuttle bus is now trundling around La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus in a Victorian-first trial that will help shape public transport’s future.

The ‘Autonobus’ is running along Science Drive in test mode, and from March will pick up passengers from car parks and bus/tram interchanges and drop them at their university destination.

The RACV-supported trial runs until July, looking at safety, operations, passenger experience and integration with other forms of transport. RACV’s general manager of public policy and corporate affairs, Bryce Prosser, says the project will explore world-leading driverless technology. 

“The purpose of the trial is to gain a better understanding of the technology – how it works, how it can best be developed and how it can be implemented,” Mr Prosser says.

Made by Navya, the Autonobus has advanced sensor systems that can detect potential collisions with very fast response times. It operates without a driver, but for the trial period will be supervised by an operator, allowing the trial team to monitor the vehicle and how it interacts with its environment, and to measure passenger acceptance and behaviour.

Autonobus navigation

With human error contributing to more than 90 per cent of crashes, automated vehicles have huge potential to reduce the road toll, and to help those with limited mobility travel more easily.

The Autonobus also fits in with RACV’s commitment to ‘last mile’ transport solutions – the missing link between transport hubs such as train stations and bus stops and a commuter’s work, school or home. Last-mile solutions help make mass public transport systems more accessible, which can in turn take the pressure off Victoria’s busy road network.

Autonobus is a collaboration between VicRoads, Keolis Downer, La Trobe University, HMI, RACV and ARRB.

Would you like to take part in the trial? Register your interest at latrobe.edu.au/autonobus

Written by RACV
November 13, 2017