Karragarra Island on Redlands Coast has been selected as the site for Queensland’s first trial of a driverless bus – the RACQ Smart Shuttle.
The trial was announced by Redland City Council and the State’s peak motoring body RACQ.
It is believed that the trial is the first in Australia to actually be held on a ‘normal’ road system.
Other trials in this country have been held in restricted or confined areas. The buses are used on open roads in other parts of the world.
Mayor Karen Williams said better transport was a priority for residents, and Council was determined to investigate solutions.
“Redlands Coast has unique transport challenges that need innovative solutions, which is why we’re partnering with RACQ and Easy Mile on the Smart Mobility trial,” she said.
“It’s exciting the first ever long-term trial of the technology in Queensland will be held on our Southern Moreton Bay Islands, providing an important step towards addressing long standing transport needs.”
RACQ’s Dr Rebecca Michael said the driverless bus trial, a joint initiative between the Club and Redland City Council with the support of Council of Mayors SEQ, would run for six months from November, and residents would have the opportunity to take part for free.
“We’re very excited to be introducing Queenslanders to the future of public transport with the RACQ Smart Shuttle, which aims to explore new transport options and address gaps in our public transport system,” Dr Michael said.
“The RACQ Smart Shuttle has a maximum speed of 20km/h and will use sophisticated sensors to navigate and detection lasers which can identify obstacles within 40 metres before stopping safely or slowing down as needed.
“Karragarra Island currently has no public transport at all, so this trial is expected to make life much easier for residents and visitors who previously had to rely on private vehicles.”
Dr Michael said the driverless bus, supplied by international mobility company EasyMile, would have a chaperone on board to answer any questions and take feedback and the vehicle was also all-abilities friendly with an automated ramp providing access as needed.
“The RACQ Smart Shuttle will operate on a three and half kilometre fixed loop route, starting at the Karragarra ferry terminal, continuing along The Esplanade; Maryanne Street and Treasure Island Avenue,” she said.
“A timetable of services will be coordinated with ferry arrivals and passengers can hop on or off at one of eight bus stops along the route.”
A meeting with island residents has already been conducted.
It is expected that the driverless bus should result in an increase in visitation to the island to ‘try it out’.
• The route the driverless bus will follow
• Dr Rebecca Michael with Mayor Karen Williams