14 Jul 2020


In Newcastle, Australia, has started a trial with a driverless shuttle as public transport service. The project is operated by Keolis Downer a joint venture of Keolis and Downer. The trial will be conducted with autonomous electric shuttles made by Navya.

The shuttle will operate along Wharf Road between the Watt Street and Nobbys Beach roundabouts on weekdays between 10am and 2pm, providing a useful connection for locals to go to points of interest and connect to the public transport network. A chaperone will always be on board to monitor the environment, the vehicle performance and provide information to passengers.

The driverless shuttle has undergone rigorous safety planning and testing to operate on public roads. The shuttle will operate along Wharf Road at around 20km per hour. Measures will be in place throughout the trial to limit the spread of coronavirus and ensure the safety of customers, including additional cleaning across the day, automatic doors and a maximum of 3 customers onboard the 11-seater vehicle.

The trial is being funded through a $5 million grant won by the City of Newcastle in Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.

Established in 2009, Keolis Downer is a joint venture between Keolis, a leading public transport operator established in 16 countries, and Downer, the leading provider of integrated services in Australia and New Zealand. Keolis Downer has more than 4,000 employees and a presence in five states and enables 250 million passenger journeys per year. It operates the largest tram network in the world in Melbourne (Yarra Trams), the light rail network on the Gold Coast (G:link), and more than 1,200 buses in NSW, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland. Keolis Downer is leading the way in the operations of autonomous vehicles, through the many trials that were conducted in Australia: La Trobe University in Melbourne (2017), Flinders University in Adelaide and Sydney Olympic Park.

To find out more or participate in the survey, go to http://newcastlesdriverlessshuttle.com.au

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