Solar station for driverless shuttle at Tonsley

A solar garage near the Mitsubishi building on South Road will be used to recharge a new driverless (autonomous) shuttle bus due to carry passengers from the Clovelly Park train station and South Road bus stops to Tonsley Innovation Precinct.

The six-bay recharging station will be available for Flinders University staff, students and the public to charge their electric vehicles for free as part of an awareness campaign to promote green transport options.

Joining the State Government and nine industry partners in the Flinders Automous Shuttle Trial project will be a competitively selected driverless shuttle manufacturer due to supply the first vehicle for the proposed public transport service.

Professor Rocco Zito, head of Civil Engineering at Flinders University at Tonsley, says autonomous vehicles are fast becoming part of the landscape for future  transport systems.

“Demonstrations and trials of these driverless vehicles that involve the community are a really good way of building acceptance of these types of new technology,” Professor Zito says.

During peak hours, the shuttle will pick up students and Tonsley workers from the rail station and bus stops along South Road and shuttle them to and from the precinct.

Then during the inter-peak periods we will open the shuttle up to the public, so that they can experience the technology first hand.

This type of trial has already happening in Perth, Darwin and Christchurch Airport, as well as dozens of locations around the world.

“Our aim is not to prove the technology, that’s already been done, but rather expose the public to this new type of transport service and learn from their responses and reactions in order to help driverless vehicle gain acceptance in our community.”

Flinders has partnered with the RAA and eight other industry partners.

The Tonsley shuttle, to be managed by a chaperone not a driver, will be launched later this year.

The solar garage proposal has attracted more than $300,000 in assistance from key stakeholders in the Tonsley Innovation Precinct, including the SA Government, Mitsubishi, Zen Energy, Siemens and Marion Council.

It is yet another stage in the reactivation of the former carmaking site, where Flinders University’s Computer Science, Engineering, Mathematics and other research disciplines work closely with industry partners at the Tonsley precinct and elsewhere in Australia.

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