The South Australian government has today launched a six month trial of a self-driving electric bus, dubbed Olli, which will travel between two new transit hubs in Adelaide’s beachside suburb Glenelg.

Olli was built by Local Motors, which has also created the first 3D printed car and has partnered with SAGE Automation to conduct the first-mile-last-mile driverless shuttle and interactive bus stop trial at Hodfast Bay.

The autonomous bus will drive itself from Mosely Square to the Broadway Kiosk and back.

The bus can transport up to eight people at once and the transit hub offers smart integrated technology to commuters, both are funded through the State Government’s Future Mobility Lab Fund.

Using IBM Watson Assistant artificial intelligence technology the bus and hubs has interactive touch screen displays, security, audio systems, designed to assist the disabled and ageing.

David La Rose, Managing Director, IBM Australia and New Zealand said, “An estimated 15 per cent of the world’s population experience some form of disability, including many that never leave home because of transportation difficulties.

“Infusing smart technology, or AI, into self-driving transport has the potential to address accessibility challenges and offer people with mobility issues new found independence.”

Stephan Knoll

The Olli shuttle is based on military-tested technology and is fully capable of operating autonomously. The vehicle incorporates lidar, computer-vision and radar detection systems to provide awareness of its environment and perform autonomous navigation.

Olli and Matilda have an on-board human machine interface and cognition allowing them to ‘talk’ and interact with passengers, providing information about the vehicle and its surrounds.

In the trial, the Olli shuttle will operate in conjunction with the cloud-connected Matilda Transit Hub to deliver a complete experience for passengers from pick-up to drop-off. Safety for passengers is enhanced through CCTV, LED lighting, PA and instant intercom access providing peace of mind.

Stephan Knoll, Minister for Transport, Infrastructure and Local Government said the Olli and Matilda are examples of technological developments that could improve our transport system and customer experience for years to come.

Knoll said, “The State Government is pleased to partner with local company SAGE Automation, US-based Local Motors and the City of Holdfast Bay to trial the world’s first integration of an autonomous shuttle with a smart transit hub along the foreshore at Glenelg.”

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