Autonomous shuttle bus begins Australian trial
EasyMile's EZ10 self-driving shuttle buses have already been trialled in Singapore, California, Switzerland, and Finland. Now, one has also entered use in what is being called regional Australia's first automated vehicle trial.
The EZ10 is being utilized in the government of New South Wales' BusBot program, which is taking place in that state's city of Coffs Harbour. That program began with the vehicle taking passengers along a stretch of road at the Coffs Harbour Marina. As of April 8th, the second phase of the trial began, in which the shuttle is being used to ferry passengers around the Marian Grove Retirement Village.
Users start by summoning the vehicle via a smartphone app, created by public transit company Via. That app responds by telling them which nearby bus stop they should proceed to for pickup. The shuttle subsequently arrives, allows them to get onboard, and then drops them off at their destination bus stop within the village.
BusBot is additionally a ride-sharing service, meaning that multiple passengers will be taking the shuttle to multiple destinations at the same time. For this reason, it doesn't follow a preset route, but instead determines each run based on where and when passengers need to be picked up and dropped off.
The service is being offered free of charge, and will last for a total of 22 weeks. After that, in phase three of the trial, the shuttle will see use in Coffs Harbour's central business district.