Perth to host robo-taxi trial

WA motoring services organisation RAC plans to build on its driverless Intellibus shuttlebus trial, unveiling a planto bring on-demand autonomous vehicles to the streets of Perth.

RAC has partnered with autonomous vehicle maker NAVYA and the WA government for the new trial, which will involve electric AUTONOM Cab vehicles. (As with the Intellibus, the vehicles will still have a ‘chaperone’ that can take control if necessary.)

A smartphone app will be used to book the robo-taxis, which can each carry up to six passengers.

RAC said that each vehicle will be equipped with an array of sensors including 10 LIDARS, four radars, half a dozen cameras, an inertial measurement unit, and two Global Navigation Satellite System antennas. The collection of sensors delivers triple redundancy across all functions, according to NAVYA.

NAVYA unveiled the AUTONOM earlier this month.

The AUTONOM vehicles can reach speeds of up to 90 kilometres an hour, though RAC said they are likely to operate at 20-50km/h during the trial.

The Perth trial will begin next year, with the vehicles expected to arrive in April.

NAVYA also manufactured the Intellibus vehicles that have so far carried thousands of passengers in Perth. Driverless bus trials have also been staged at Curtin Universityand a site near Sydney’sOlympic Park.

“We must prepare for the potential impact and opportunities of driverless vehicles, as well as the changes that are required for them to safely transition on to our roads,” said RAC Group CEO Terry Agnew.

“For 112 years, RAC has been helping to create a better WA for its members and the community. By giving Western Australians the chance to see the technology, use it and experience it, we are learning more and working towards being ready for driverless vehicles.”

Earlier this year a parliamentary inquiry recommended the federal government should facilitate and encourage trials of automated vehicles in Australia.

However, as part of preparing for the more widespread use of automated vehicle technology, Australia’s national cyber security strategy should specifically address the implications of driverless cars and similar systems, the inquiry recommended.

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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