The RAC (Royal Automobile Club of Western Australia) has expanded its partnership with Navya, the France-based designer and manufacturer of its RAC Intellibus, to help facilitate further deployments of autonomous vehicle technology in Australia and the Asia-Pacific region.
In August 2016, the RAC, with the support of the Western Australia state government, launched Australia’s first onroad trials of a self-driving shuttle service, with the RAC Intellibus operating on a route in South Perth. More than 7,000 people have registered to take part in the pilot project so far.
Navya’s driverless, electric shuttle can transport up to 11 passengers at an average speed of 15mph (25km/h), and is designed to complement the existing public transport network by transporting passengers across the first and last mile. The RAC and Navya have now expanded the partnership, which will deliver their expertise and knowledge of autonomous vehicle systems and technology to help establish further trials, and will also increase opportunities for further innovation and community engagement.
“This exciting collaboration will see us 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,” explained 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’s CEO, Christophe Sapet, said, “The partnership will help ensure more people can experience automated vehicles, and will support the fast-paced growth and global reach of our vehicle fleet. We are successfully delivering an ambitious program to deploy our smart mobility systems all over the world, and securing local technical support for our vehicle fleet reinforces our strong commitment to provide customers with the best possible services in a timely fashion.
“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.”
Agnew concluded, “Ultimately our aim is to increase the understanding of how driverless vehicles can be integrated in to our transport system, and to help ensure Australia is ready for the inevitable arrival of driverless vehicles.”