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The shape of public transport in the future could be coming to the islands sooner rather than later!

The future of urban transport was on display in Cleveland a couple of weeks ago at the request of Redland City Council.

The EasyMile EZ10 electric driverless bus was on show and giving people the opportunity to get on board the technology for a real live public demonstration.

Redland City Council Mayor had more than a passing interest.

So too did Division 5 Councillor Mark Edwards.

Mayor Karen Williams admitted that autonomous buses have the potential to solve many transport challenges faced in the Redlands and ‘Council is interested in how the technology can assist in planning for the City’s future transport needs’.

According to Cr Edwards, a ‘driverless transport system’ could be the ‘perfect system’ for a future island transport system.

“Not only could such a system be ideal for the bigger islands to transport islanders to the jetties to impact on jetty-based parking, but the electric driverless bus could also play a role at Weinam Creek and the new Moore’s Farm parking area that is being developed by council.”

Additionally the new technology would be suited to the future development of Weinam Creek PDA areas.

Mayor Williams put it this way:”There is a range of applications for this technology here in the Redlands, from connecting people from car parks to bus, train and ferry stations, transport within events or even within shopping, health or industrial precincts.

“Our island residents could benefit greatly from these driverless buses as a general mode of island transport or on the mainland operating between ferry terminals and off-site carparks to improve transport connectivity for island commuters,” Cr Williams said.

“This sort of technology could ultimately help us provide efficient services in problematic locations to better meet the transport needs of our community.”

Redland City Council worked with international high-tech company EasyMile, which specialises in software-powered autonomous vehicles, and local bus operator Transdev to present the driverless bus ‘road show’ in Cleveland’s Middle Street.

Easymile’s Head of Delivery, Simon Pearce said that their software technology has been powering autonomous shuttles for a decade and the Cleveland road show demonstrated the massive potential of driverless buses to provide efficient transport where it is needed most in the Redlands.

The EZ10 has a capacity of 14 customers and has been designed to cover short pre-defined routes through embedded localisation technologies. Using the latest sensory technology, the vehicle can safely respond to environmental changes like moving pedestrians, cyclists and other cars.

The buses ran at just 5km/h during the Cleveland trial but can travel at up to 45km/h when required.

• Cr Edwards in front of the EZ10 electric driverless bus.