NSW’s Armidale has enjoyed playing host to a fully electric driverless shuttle as part of an autonomous vehicle trial, but the shuttle is taking its last journey at the end of  February.

A Transport for NSW spokesperson said the end of the autonomous vehicle trial in Armidale marks an important milestone in the future of driverless transportation.

“Armidale has played a major role in testing the future of regional transportation, with ARDi achieving a number of Australian-firsts,” a TfNSW spokesperson said.

“He became the first automated shuttle to operate in mixed traffic within a city centre and operated on one of our longest and most complex trial routes.

“The trial looked to understand the technical capabilities of ARDi and how he integrated into the transport network, providing a trial service to the passengers in Armidale.”

The first phase of the trial saw ARDi operating in the University of New England before moving to Armidale CBD, operating a new route bounded by Rusden, Faulkner, Moore and Dangar Streets.

“ARDi will now head off for a well-deserved break but it’s likely he’ll visit another part of the state in the future as we continue to test automated technology,” a TfNSW spokesperson said.

“We already know this technology has the potential to increase safety, minimise congestion, improve productivity and help make people more mobile, but we need to keep trialing in different environments to get the best local outcomes.”

ARDi will continue to operate 9am to 3pm until his final trip on February 20. The trial is open to the public and free to use, just turn up to one of the stops and jump on.  

Armidale is one of three regional centres chosen by the NSW Government to host automated vehicle trials. The ARDi trial was delivered in partnership with Armidale Regional Council, EasyMile, Transdev, WSP, QBE Insurance, Edwards Coaches and the University of New England.

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