Dial a driverless vehicle fast tracked at Tonsley

Pre-booking a driverless shuttle via a mobile app is a step closer to reality, thanks to a Flinders University research project which has won backing from the state government.

Flinders has enjoyed success in two applications to the Future Mobility Lab Fund, a $10 million initiative to drive the development of driverless car technology in South Australia.

The first grant sees Flinders, in partnership with the RAA, working with eight industry supporters to trial so called ‘last mile’ public transport shuttle services (feeder services that bridge gaps for public transport users between train/bus stops and other destinations such as the office or home).

The second sees Flinders working with RDM to develop ‘last mile’ freight logistics, which will see cargo delivered to a Tonsley freights arrivals point then delivered by autonomous vehicles to its final destination.

The new RDM Group Pod Zero driverless vehicle at Tonsley.

“As a leader in autonomous systems research, Flinders University is the perfect testing ground for this exciting, transformational technology,” Flinders University Vice-Chancellor Professor Colin Stirling said.

“The trial will include the development of a mobile app, so that people arriving by bus or train can book a shuttle to meet them and ferry them to their destination on the Tonsley or Bedford Park campuses. It will also include a feature showing the shuttle’s location, and vision streamed from the vehicle.

“As the trial advances, we’ll open it up to members of the public to be able to experience driverless transport, in a vehicle powered by renewable energy.”

“In order for driverless vehicles to become an integral part of our transport system we need to have trials that prove the technology under real world conditions, and encourage public participation. These ‘last mile’ trials do just that,” Flinders University’s Head of Civil Engineering Professor Rocco Zito said.

“The Tonsley stage of the trial will see the shuttle used on public roads within Tonsley, providing a connection between bus stops on South Road, the Clovelly Park train station and all the businesses within the Tonsley innovation precinct.”

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