Free bus rides for locals as Redland City Council, RACQ trial autonomous vehicle at Raby Bay

COUNCIL and RACQ are giving Redlands locals the chance to cruise around the streets of Raby Bay for free in a driverless bus this summer.

The autonomous shuttle first made an appearance on Karragarra Island last year but has been brought to the mainland for stage two of a trial, which will run until June 2021.

The bus racked up about 1400 kilometres on the quiet island streets and carried about 850 passengers in total.

During the Cleveland leg of the trial, the shuttle will travel between Raby Bay Harbour and Raby Bay Foreshore Park during off-peak periods.

It means locals and visitors can hitch a ride from 9am to 3pm Wednesdays to Fridays and 10am to 3pm on weekends.

The shuttle - which can carry up to six passengers at one time - uses sensors and GPS to navigate along a programmed route.

RACQ head of public policy Rebecca Michael said the technology had the potential to improve road safety.

"This is an incredible opportunity for ground-breaking research and we look forward to once again sharing the future of public transport with the Redlands community," Dr Michael said.

"The trial is a critical step in the broader process of integrating driverless technology onto our roads and we welcome feedback from locals, as this will help us ensure current and future trials positively impact Queensland lives."

Mayor Karen Williams said phase two of the trial allowed the shuttle to be tested in a more challenging environment.

"We know this is the future, particularly for places on the outskirts of big metropolitan cities," she said.

"We will have a lot more cars on the roads (during phase two), which will allow us to learn how we can best accommodate this type of transport on mainland Redlands."

Speed remains an issue with the technology, as the bus can only travel at speeds up to 20km/h.

There is also a limit on capacity, with only six passengers allowed on the bus at one time.

Cr Williams said the trial reflected council's commitment to overcoming Redlands' transport issues.

"The trial will provide a novel and fun public transport option until June 2021 while seeing the city involved in innovative research, building on the findings from Karragarra Island," she said.

"The Raby Bay route will benefit both residents and visitors to this popular area, and I envisage the air-conditioned shuttle being a welcome transport option during summer.

"We are also seeing community interest in the shuttle's technology, with people keen to experience a glimpse of the future."

Cr Peter Mitchell said nearby residents and businesses had been largely supportive of the trial.

"I thank Raby Bay residents for their patience during the pre-deployment activities and ask that motorists continue to drive with care and only overtake when it is safe to do so, and give the shuttle a wide berth to prevent triggering the safety sensors."

Residents can have their say on the trial at yoursay.redland.qld.gov.au.

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