RACQ Smart Shuttle hits the road at Raby Bay
The RACQ Smart Shuttle is now taking passengers along Raby Bay streets as phase two of the Redlands Coast Smart Mobility trial goes live.
In a joint initiative between the RACQ and Redland City Council, the small driverless bus that travelled the quiet streets of Karragarra Island earlier this year has now moved to the more challenging traffic environment of Raby Bay.
Mayor Karen Williams said the smart shuttle would provide free public transport for up to six passengers at a time during off-peak hours, to minimise disruption.
“The automated vehicle (AV) will be travelling between Raby Bay Harbour and Raby Bay Foreshore Park – a route not serviced by traditional public transport – from 9am-3pm Wednesdays to Fridays and 10am-3pm on weekends,” Cr Williams said.
“Redlands Coast embraces innovation and this trial reflects Council’s commitment to overcoming Redlands Coast’s transport challenges while demonstrating our ambition as a progressive and forward-thinking city.
“The trial will provide a novel and fun public transport option until June 2021 while seeing the city involved in innovative research, building on the findings from Karragarra Island.
“The Raby Bay route will benefit both residents and visitors to this popular area, and I envisage the air-conditioned shuttle being a welcome transport option during summer.
“We are also seeing community interest in the shuttle’s technology, with people keen to experience a glimpse of the future.
“The shuttle has been ‘mapped’ to follow a set route, using sophisticated sensors for navigation and detection lasers to identify obstacles and ensure safe stopping and slowing.
“While a chaperone will always be on board the RACQ Smart Shuttle to assist passengers, the bus really does drive itself.”
Division 2 Councillor Peter Mitchell said Raby Bay was an ideal location for conducting the second phase of the trial.
“The wide streets and popularity of this part of Cleveland makes it a perfect location for further testing the capabilities of this autonomous vehicle,” he said.
“Now that the vehicle’s route has been mapped, it will speed up to approximately 20 kilometres per hour.
“I thank Raby Bay residents for their patience during the pre-deployment activities and ask that motorists continue to drive with care and only overtake when it is safe to do so, and give the shuttle a wide berth to prevent triggering the safety sensors.
“Nearby residents and businesses have been largely supportive of the trial, recognising the benefits to the local community and beyond.
“It’s pleasing to know that findings from the Raby Bay trial are expected to provide information that will see new, creative and better transport solutions for communities like ours in other parts of Queensland and even nationwide.”
RACQ Head of Public Policy Rebecca Michael said autonomous vehicles have the potential to change the way Queenslanders move and the Club was excited to partner with Redland City Council again.
“This is an incredible opportunity for ground-breaking research and we look forward to once again sharing the future of public transport with the Redlands Coast community,” Dr Michael said.
“The trial is a critical step in the broader process of integrating driverless technology onto our roads and we welcome feedback from locals, as this will help us ensure current and future trials positively impact Queenslander lives.”