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Autonomous vehicle hub announced in South Australia

Innovation

Driverless electric shuttle buses capable of travelling at speeds of up to 45 kilometres per hour will soon be trialled in Australia from a planned ‘autonomous vehicle hub’ in South Australia.

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Australian company Transit Australia Group (TAG) and global electric driverless technology company EasyMile today announced a new partnership to be based at TAG’s joint venture Precision Buses in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia.

The partnership will involve Australian trials of EasyMile’s EZ10 autonomous buses, to be coordinated from Precision’s Adelaide site.

The trials will focus on the deployment, operations and maintenance of the vehicles. TAG said it would reveal details of where and when the trials will take place later in the year

EZ10 shuttle buses carry up to 15 passengers (eight seated and seven standing) and are capable of operating on existing roadway and public infrastructure using EasyMile’s proprietary software.

The buses are currently manufactured in France but a TAG spokesperson said there was potential further down the track for the buses to be manufactured at Precision’s Adelaide site.

TAG CEO Michael McGee said the partnership could also help the company develop an autonomous version of TAG’s ZDi electric bus, which is already manufactured in Adelaide and is currently being trialled on the city’s public transport network.

He said through TAG’s joint venture with Precision Buses, the company was looking to transition existing advanced manufacturing expertise away from automotive and into “next generation” urban transport vehicles.

“South Australia has the opportunity to benefit immensely in all areas of this emerging industry,” he said.

“Our immediate focus is on working with EasyMile to deliver successful trials across Asia-Pacific and expanding our local knowledge, skills and capabilities around driverless bus technology, operations and maintenance.

“However, as the market for autonomous electric vehicles matures, we are well positioned through Precision Buses to locally manufacture and assemble autonomous vehicles, and this is something we are very excited about for South Australia.”

A TAG spokesperson said the State Government had been consulted about the partnership. He said the company would release more details of South Australia’s involvement in the project later in the year.

Earlier this month it was announced Swedish bus and truck manufacturer Scania had expressed interest in a partnership with Precision to build its buses for the Australian market.

The deal is conditional on Precision winning the bidding for a $300 million South Australian Government tender to build the state’s replacement public transport buses over the next 10 years.


First published in InDaily

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