Redland City Council, RACQ to trial driverless bus at Raby Bay

NEXT STEP: Mayor Karen Williams with RACQ head of public policy Rebecca Michael at Karragarra Island, where the bus was first trialled.
NEXT STEP: Mayor Karen Williams with RACQ head of public policy Rebecca Michael at Karragarra Island, where the bus was first trialled.

PEOPLE will soon be able to catch a free lift at Raby Bay in a bus without a driver.

The second phase of the Redlands Smart Mobility Trial is tipped to take place from late November, with the little bus set to run on Masthead Drive between Raby Bay Harbour and the nearby foreshore park.

It comes after Redland City Council and RACQ paired up for a six month trial of the bus on Karragarra Island, which finished in May.

It was Queensland's first long-term, on-road trial of the autonomous vehicle technology.

The small, driverless bus has a maximum speed of 20km/h, high-tech sensors for navigation, and detection lasers to identify obstacles within 40 metres before stopping or slowing.

While the vehicle is autonomous, an operator will be on board at all times to take control if necessary.

Mayor Karen Williams said Karragarra Island had been the perfect site to test how an autonomous vehicle would perform in a live traffic environment.

"As a city of islands with rural and urban communities, we know Redlands Coast faces a number of transport challenges," she said.

"Over the course of the island trial, more than 850 passengers experienced the potential of autonomous vehicle technology, with the bus travelling more than 1400 kilometres."

The trial will connect Raby Bay Harbour with Raby Bay Foreshore Park, two popular destinations not serviced by public transport.

POPULAR SPOTS: Phase two of the Smart Mobility Trial will run between Raby Bay Harbour and the foreshore park.

POPULAR SPOTS: Phase two of the Smart Mobility Trial will run between Raby Bay Harbour and the foreshore park.

Cr Williams said the trial area would test the driverless technology in a more complex traffic environment and in an integrated transport network.

"These ground-breaking trials on Redlands Coast will also be used to investigate other applications for the autonomous vehicle and to lobby for greater adoption of innovative transport across the state."

Division 2 councillor Peter Mitchell said the trial would add to the important data collected on Karragarra Island.

"This is as much about research as it is about transport, with it to provide information on practical uses of the technology, not only on Redlands Coast but also across Queensland and even nationwide," he said.

RACQ head of public policy Rebecca Michael said the shuttle was an opportunity for Raby Bay locals to test the future of public transport.

"Autonomous vehicles will change the way we move in the future," Dr Michael said.

"Once the trial begins, members of the community will be able to ride the shuttle for free and we'll gather feedback on their experience and thoughts on the technology, so we can ensure current and future trials positively impact Queenslander lives."

The trial is set to run until June 2021.