Tech Industry

Australia's first autonomous bus trial goes off without a hitch (or a driver)

Western Australia has completed the country's first ever driverless bus trials, and if you're wondering what Australia's future looks like, it's fresh out of an episode of "Postman Pat."

The RAC Intellibus has completed driverless trials in Perth.

RAC

The West Australian government has completed an on-road trial of Australia's first fully driverless, electric shuttle bus in Perth, paving the way for a driverless future across the country.

But don't expect any "Minority Report"-style trips blasting through the city without a driver at the wheel. The shuttle bus reaches max speeds of 45 kph, with an average speed of 25kph, and it's designed to travel back and forth on the same 25-minute route between Perth's Sir James Mitchell Park and the Old Mill in South Perth.

It's certainly still early days, but with auto manufacturers and ​cities around the world experimenting with autonomous technology, and Tesla already planning out our driverless public transport future, it's a big step forward for Australian transport.

The Intellibus (excellent name, by the way) is an initiative of RAC and the Government of Western Australia, and built in partnership with French company Navya SAS.

Built for 15 passengers, it features external cameras, GPS, emergency braking systems, and both 2D and 3D LIDAR (a technology similar to radar that uses lasers to detect distances). RAC points out that a number of these technologies are in existing cars on the market. But they all work together in the Intellibus to make it a level four, or fully autonomous, vehicle capable of intelligently detecting its surroundings and driving itself.

The Intellibus trials will run for the next three weeks, and members of the public can sign up to take a ride. And let's not lie, it's kind of adorable, so here's hoping it sticks around after that.