It’s a win for Australia’s first regional automated vehicle initiative, utilising Papercast solar powered e-paper displays
The Coffs Harbour Automated Vehicle Trial, known as BusBot, has won the Automated Vehicle Award in the ITS Australia National Awards 2019, utilising Papercast solar powered e-paper displays to provide accurate travel information to service users at their bus stops.
ITS Australia National Awards are a celebration of excellence in the Intelligent Transport Systems industry, hosted annually by ITS Australia. The program reinforces Australian ITS capability and its position as a world leader in ITS. The announcement was made at a presentation night dinner on 21 November 2019 in Adelaide.
The automated passenger vehicle trial is a NSW Government initiative, led in partnership between Transport for NSW, local bus operator Busways, Coffs Harbour City Council, vehicle manufacturer EasyMile and using Via’s on-demand app. BusBot is the first Australian study of driverless buses in regional communities, carrying more than 7,500 passengers aged from 1-103 during the first two phases of the trial. The aim is to develop a sustainable business model and blueprint which can be scaled to multiple operations around the country to accelerate the safe introduction of AVs onto Australian roads.
The Papercast solar powered e-paper bus stop displays enable direct real-time communication to customers at each bus stop. The e-paper screens show live arrival times as well as information about the route, the driverless vehicles and the pilot. The controller can also push service notifications to a route or area in real-time and an interactive survey enables passengers to provide feedback using the push buttons on the display. The displays also come with a text to speech function, so with a push of a button it will announce the next service to arrive at the stop.
“Receiving this award for a project based on finding future transport solutions demonstrates how important these trials are – it’s fantastic to be a part of it,” said Byron Rowe, Managing Director of Busways.
This was the first in a three-phase trial where the technology is being tested in more complex environments as the trial progresses. The technical capabilities were proven through three-phases of increasing complexity, passing all safety tests and providing evidence to show AVs do have potential for regional Australian transport.
“We are thrilled to be part of this cutting-edge project, and that the hard work of the collaborating partners has been recognised in this way,” concludes Robert Bicket, CEO at Papercast.