The home of the Big Banana will welcome another major attraction with driverless vehicles rolling into town.
Coffs Harbour will be one of two regional areas in NSW to host a fully automated vehicle trial, the other being Armidale.
Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said the announcement, the first of its kind in regional Australia, would see the NSW Government partner with Busways, Coffs Harbour City Council, EasyMile, and Via.
“We want to test this technology outside of the Greater Sydney area so our regional communities can be part of our planning for connected and automated vehicles,” Mrs Pavey said.
The shuttle will be at different locations around Coffs Harbour, using a level four, fully-automated EZ10 vehicle with the capacity to carry up to 12 passengers. The trial, which will commence before the end of the year, will run for 12 months in three phases with gradually-increasing levels of operational complexity in real-world environments.
Phase 1: A shuttle service travelling to Muttonbird Island, operating on the Northern Breakwall connecting Coffs Harbour International Marina and Muttonbird Island
Phase 2: The shuttle will move to Marion Grove Retirement Village
Phase 3: Operate on Harbour Drive in the Coffs Harbour CBD, helping people travel between precincts and transport links
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said the NSW Government was also trialling the state’s first fully-automated vehicle at Sydney Olympic Park.
“We’ll be implementing what we’ve already learnt from Olympic Park but this trial will be tailored to Coffs Harbour helping deliver improved transport solutions for Regional NSW as we prepare our communities for the future,” Mr Constance said.
Safety will be a major priority throughout the trial, with a shuttle supervisor to be on-board at all times.