SA launches autonomous vehicle trial

The South Australian Government is launching a free autonomous vehicle trial to run from the Playford Alive Township and the Munno Para Train Station.

Running approximately every half hour on weekdays, the EasyMile EZ10 autonomous electric bus will carry passengers from the Munno Para Railway Station to the Playford Alive Township, including stops at Mark Oliphant College and the Stretton Centre. 

The free autonomous shuttle bus service will include a morning and afternoon service window, with passengers collected from designated pick up points on the route.

The Munno Para service is phase two of the Playford Connect autonomous bus trial, following on from phase one which provided a free park and ride service from the Lionsgate Carpark through to the Lyell McEwin Hospital in Elizabeth Vale from October 2018 to June 2019.

Phase two of the trial is a joint project between the City of Playford, French autonomous vehicle manufacturer EasyMile, local intelligent transport system specialists SAGE Automation and the State Government.

Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government, Stephan Knoll, said, “The Marshall Government is continuing to explore innovative opportunities to provide better public transport services.

“This trial is a great example of how we can embrace new technology to deliver better services and fill gaps that exist in our network.

“This autonomous vehicle trial will provide a first and last mile service, transporting commuters from the train station to the Playford Alive Township.

“South Australia is ahead of the curve in this space having launched Australia’s first on-road trial on an autonomous shuttle at Tonsley in June last year.

“The Marshall Government has supported this trial through the Future Mobility Lab Fund.

“This fund aims to encourage and stimulate developments in connected and autonomous vehicles, and position South Australia at the forefront of these emerging technologies.”

Managing Director for EasyMile ANZ, Greg Giraud, said autonomous vehicles will change the way we deliver passenger transit in future and this trial is a great opportunity to showcase how our technology can provide new mobility solutions and bridge the gap for those first and last miles.

“As the project takes place in an open road environment, it is also about understanding how passengers and other road users interact with driverless technology.

“We see the City of Playford and more generally the Adelaide Metropolitan Area as ideal environments for the integration of autonomous shuttles to help address public transport challenges.

City of Playford Mayor, Glenn Docherty, said the City of Playford is an ideal location to trial this type of technology.

“We are proud to be playing a part in shaping future transport mobility for communities like ours.

“As a growing city we are embracing technology to transition from traditional industries into the digital economy.

“This bus trial provides a chance for Playford residents to embrace new technology that increases mobility and access to one of our city’s busiest areas. The project is also supported by Mark Oliphant College and the Stretton Centre.”

General Manager Transport for SAGE Group, Damian Hewitt, said partnering on the project was an exciting evolution of the recent autonomous vehicle trials in South Australia.

“This trial is particularly important in preparation of vehicle performance in mixed traffic conditions.

“Partnering with Easy Mile and being responsible for the operation of the trial enables SAGE to deploy technologies that enhance safety performance, user experience and increased patronage on public transport.”

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