Today the Autonobus launched in Melbourne, representing the third self-driving vehicle trial for HMI Technologies, in this trial we are supplying the vehicle, managing operations and technical aspects. 

This trial will be an investigation into Last Mile solutions, taking place at La Trobe University, in partnership with a consortium of partners, including RACV, La Trobe University, Keolis Downer, Vic Roads and ARRB (Australian Road Research Group).

The La Trobe Autonobus is part-funded by the Victorian Government Smarter Journeys Program and brings together the private sector, academia and Victoria’s largest member organisation, the RACV. Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan said the innovative project shows that Victoria is at the forefront of automated vehicle technology.

“Automated vehicles will revolutionise how we move around our communities, that’s why we’re investing in trials that explore ways technology can be used to reduce congestion and keep people safe on our roads,” Mr Donnellan said.

The Autonobus will soon be connecting students and staff at the university campus to other transport network nodes such as tram and buses. Last mile solutions, such as shuttles like this will make mass public transport more attractive, by connecting people safely and efficiently from transport hubs to their destination, leading to less congestion and pollution on the roads and less need for large, expensive road and parking infrastructure. More on Last Mile solutions in this feature by Richard Harris  (ITS-UK Review)

For HMI Technologies, this trial will extend our expertise into autonomous vehicles. Dean Zabrieszach, CEO of HMI Technologies explains, “We are committed to developing technologies which deliver a safer, more efficient and sustainable transport future and electric self-driving vehicles have amazing potential in that regard.”

“We regard our entrance into the AV space as a natural progression, combining our expertise in ITS technology, with growing expertise in autonomous vehicles, we’re answering outstanding questions, we are again working with transport agencies, identifying the requirements to safely introduce these vehicles to public environments as soon as possible.”

Stuart Ballingall, VicRoads Director of Transport Futures, said the trial would set the groundwork for the introduction of driverless vehicles.
“We hope to learn how this technology can be used while interacting with other road users, which will help to inform the development of a legal and regulatory framework for the safe introduction of automated vehicles across Victoria and Australia.”

The official media release for the Autonobus is available here