Australia’s latest autonomous transportation service uses Papercast technology


Australia’s first regional trial of an automated passenger vehicle service features Papercast’s real-time passenger information system to provide a superior customer experience at major bus stops on the autonomous shuttle’s route.

Located on the New South Wales (NSW) coast, mid-way between Sydney and Brisbane, in the city of Coffs Harbour, the BusBot Automated Vehicle Service’s passengers will benefit from live, accurate travel information at bus stops due to Papercast’s solar powered ‘e-paper’ displays.

The automated passenger vehicle trial is an NSW government initiative, led in partnership between Transport for NSW, local bus operator Busways, Coffs Harbour city council and French vehicle manufacturer EasyMile. The trial aims to revolutionize the way passenger transportation services are designed and delivered in rural and regional communities. This is a three-phase trial where the technology is tested in more complex environments as the trial progresses.

UK-based Papercast’s digital bus stops use e-paper technology, which is ideal for outside use with unbeatable screen visibility. With exceptionally low power consumption, the displays can be entirely solar powered. Couple this with wireless connectivity and the units can be installed anywhere, within an hour, with no power or connectivity cables required.

The displays are controlled remotely by Papercast’s sophisticated cloud-based content management system, and live BusBot arrival times are generated by the company’s fully integrated BetterETA data feed. This advanced analytics platform adjusts CAD/AVL data in real time to improve the accuracy of arrival predictions. The technology provides BusBot controllers with a platform for direct real-time communication with customers at the bus stop. The screens show live arrival times, as well as information about the route, the driverless vehicles, and the overall trial.
The controller can reassure customers in real time, show additional service information, and dynamically push notifications to a route or area. 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.

Designed, developed and produced entirely in-house, Papercast was launched in March 2016 after comprehensive field testing. Now deployed in over 50 locations worldwide, the technology is under continual development to retain its status as the most advanced system of its kind on the market.
“Not only does Papercast align with the forward-looking nature of this project, but it gives us the opportunity to connect with our customers in new and exciting ways. The technology allows us to improve the customer experience with real-time communication, add value at our bus stops, and improve the success of the overall BusBot trial,” commented Busways’ special project manager, Timothy J Reid.

“Papercast is an essential partner of the trial and we will continue to test Papercast in new ways throughout the duration of the project. E-paper offers us familiarity, but with a future-proof technology. The displays can show live, accurate and dynamic information in what appears to be a traditional paper format that is easy to read at any time of the day or night.”

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Adam joined the company in 1994, and has been News Editor of TTT since 2009. In his other role as Circulation Manager, he helped create the original Traffic Technology International distribution list 23 years ago, and has been working on it ever since. Outside of work, he is a keen fisherman, runs a drumming band, and plays an ancient version of cricket.