RAC/Navya to deploy autonomous vehicle technology in Australia/overseas

By Simon Warburton | 12 May 2017

RAC has expanded its partnership with the French-based designer and manufacturer of its Intellibus, Navya, to help facilitate further deployments of autonomous vehicle technology in Australia and overseas.

"This collaboration will see RAC coordinate the on-site commissioning of Navya vehicles in Australia, New Zealand, parts of South East Asia and Japan as well as providing a range of technical support services," said RAC group CEO, Terry Agnew.

"We are also focused on continuing to put automated technology to the test to help save lives and stop serious injuries on our roads, with human error estimated to cause around 90% of road crashes.

"With Navya autonomous vehicles being fully electric, this partnership also supports the development of environmentally sustainable transport options into the future."

Navya CEO, Christophe Sapet added the partnership will help ensure more people can experience automated vehicles and will support the fast-paced growth and global reach of Navya's vehicle fleet.

"Navya is delivering an ambitious programme to deploy our smart mobility systems all over the world and securing local technical support for our vehicle fleet reinforces Navya's commitment to provide its customers with services in a timely fashion," he said.

"RAC is already trialling Navya vehicles in Western Australia and the partnership provides the potential for driverless vehicles to be operated in different environments across Australia and also internationally, including New Zealand, South East Asia and Japan."

In an Australian first, RAC, with the support of the WA State Government, launched the RAC Intellibus in South Perth in August 2016, with more than 7,000 people registering to take part in the trial so far. The driverless, electric shuttle is designed to complement the existing public transport network by transporting passengers across the first and last mile.

"A longstanding objective of launching Australia's first driverless vehicle trial in South Perth is to encourage and develop further trials, build research and also encourage wider collaboration," added Agnew.

"Ultimately our aim is to increase the understanding of how driverless vehicles can be integrated in to our transport system, and how they could best benefit the community.

"As one of the most progressive shuttle trials in the world, every aspect of the RAC Intellibus project has been aimed at enhancing our experience and understanding of driverless technology.  We're continuing our own trials in WA, also contributing to a number of national working groups and research initiatives, and assisting with the development of policy to help ensure Australia is ready for the inevitable arrival of driverless vehicles.

"The more government, industry and the public all learn about and engage with driverless vehicles, the more prepared we will be to transition them on to our roads."