According to Australia’s Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan, the Adelaide Airport, Flinders University and driverless vehicle supplier RDM Group will receive $1 million each from the government’s Future Mobility Lab Fund.
Aside from the grant, Adelaide Airport will be investing an extra $1.8 million from its own money to experiment on the driverless shuttle bus service that will carry passengers to and from the terminal and its long-term car park. According to Steph Bolt, the sustainability manager of Adelaide Airport, they will be the first in the country to trial autonomous vehicle technology for transporting passengers.
Steph Bolt told reporters that are very excited about the opportunity of being the first to use driverless shuttle bus service. Not only does the technology make them the leader in the industry, it will allow the airport to offer outstanding customer service for both local travelers and foreign visitors.
According to Mark Young, the managing director of Adelaide Airport, the fleet of autonomous vehicles will be replacing the fleet of diesel-powered shuttle buses that used to provide services to the airport and staff car parks. Because of their compact size and agility, the driverless vehicles will be able to navigate on a dedicated path at an increased frequency to reduce traffic congestions and minimize carbon emissions. If plans push through, the autonomous vehicles will be operating 24/7.
Aside from the autonomous shuttle service, the project will also include new bus shelters equipped with solar PV, LED lighting, CCTV and Wi-Fi. A dedicated charging station will be provided for the vehicles though an existing onsite 1.17MW solar PV generation. If the trials are successful, the airport hopes that the driverless shuttle buses and bus shelters will be ready by 2018. Flinders University is also hoping that driverless vehicles will be able to shuttle students through the main campus.
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