Hobart connects with driverless future

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Driverless vehicle technology is hitting the streets of Sandy Bay in a joint initiative that will explore the future of new forms of public transport in Hobart.

The City of Hobart has partnered with the Tasmanian Government and RACT to bring a driverless electric bus (DEB) to Hobart to demonstrate the technology and give insight into how it may be used in years to come.

The vehicle is operating from the Sandy Bay Sailing Club and travelling a set route that has been mapped out by the vehicle’s software.

Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said it was the first time a driverless vehicle had been brought to Tasmania.

“This is really exciting not just for Hobart, but for Tasmania,” Cr Reynolds said. “This is our first up-close look at this fast-evolving technology, which offers huge potential for the future of accessible and reliable transport in our city.

“If we want to be a Smart City, as the state capital we need to be open to exploring new ideas and to make the most of opportunities like this to learn as much as we can about innovative and emerging technologies.

“It’s great that we’ve been able to collaborate with the Tasmanian Government and RACT on this occasion.”

City Innovation Director Peter Carr said the demonstration allowed the City of Hobart and other stakeholders to see a real-life solution capable of addressing one of today’s transport challenges – reliable “last-mile” services.

“We can learn from others by reading about how driverless vehicles are being deployed around the world, or we can test these technologies, directly with our communities, in our own backyard,” Mr Carr said. “This demonstration represents the first step of consultation for the use of driverless vehicles for our city.

“Furthermore, it is strongly aligned with other initiatives in our Connected Hobart program, which is also committed to increasing electric vehicle capabilities in Hobart. Our first fast-charge station is due to be installed in the first half of next year.”

The demonstration is taking in several residential streets in Sandy Bay and a temporary speed limit of 20km/h is in place while the DEB is in operation.

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