A driverless public electric shuttle will this week start operating around the Tonsley Innovation District in South Australia as part of a five-year trial, marking the first use of autonomous vehicle technology on public roads in the state. The Navya Arma Flinders Express (FLEX) electric shuttle will transport passengers — who can book a free ride from Wednesday — at speeds of up to 30km, and will be managed by an on-board chaperone who will advise passengers and ensure safety, according to Flinders University, which partnered with industry supporters for the trial. FLEX will operate on weekdays between 10am to 2pm, and will initially provide services between Clovelly Park Train Station and Tonsley’s Main Assembly Building, and connections to bus stops on the main South Road and businesses in the Tonsley precinct. Within a year, the shuttle will run to Flinders Medical Centre and Flinders University’s Bedford Park campus before using main roads around the Bedford Park precinct, the university said. The vehicle will be docked within a six-bay solar recharge garage, which will be available for free to members of the public who need to charge their own vehicles. “Our aim is not to prove the technology, but rather expose the public to this new type of transport service and learn from their responses and reactions to help driverless vehicles gain general acceptance,” said Flinders University head of civil engineering professor Rocco Zito. “This research project is a perfect example of how universities, government, and industry can collaborate to… [Read full story]
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