Driverless shuttle 'Ardi' says goodbye to Armidale
Armidale locals and visitors are invited to jump aboard the fully electric driverless shuttle, better known as ARDi, for the last time as he delivers his final trip on February 20.
A Transport for NSW spokesperson said the end of the autonomous vehicle trial in Armidale marks an important milestone in the future of driverless transportation.
“Armidale has played a major role in testing the future of regional transportation, with ARDi achieving a number of Australian-firsts,” a TfNSW spokesperson said.
“He became the first automated shuttle to operate in mixed traffic within a city centre and operated on one of our longest and most complex trial routes.”
“The trial looked to understand the technical capabilities of ARDi and how he integrated into the transport network, providing a trial service to the passengers in Armidale.”
The first phase of the trial saw ARDi operating in the University of New England before moving to Armidale CBD, operating a new route bounded by Rusden, Faulkner, Moore and Dangar Streets.
“ARDi will now head off for a well-deserved break but it’s likely he’ll visit another part of the state in the future as we continue to test automated technology,” a TfNSW spokesperson said.
“We already know this technology has the potential to increase safety, minimise congestion, improve productivity and help make people more mobile, but we need to keep trialing in different environments to get the best local outcomes.”
ARDi will continue to operate 9am to 3pm until his final trip on February 20. The trial is open to the public and free to use, just turn up to one of the stops and jump on.
Armidale is one of three regional centres chosen by the NSW Government to host automated vehicle trials. The ARDi trial was delivered in partnership with Armidale Regional Council, EasyMile, Transdev, WSP, QBE Insurance, Edwards Coaches and the University of New England.
ARDi’s List of Australian Firsts:
- UNE phase 1 route was the most complex route of any EasyMile deployed vehicle globally due to its real world road infrastructure and interchanging environments
- ARDi was one of the first autonomous vehicles in Australia operating in live traffic conditions in both the UNE and CBD trial routes
- The five kilometre UNE route was the longest shuttle deployment in Australia
- Night time service at UNE provided a unique environment to test the vehicle
- CBD phase 2 route integrated into CBD traffic conditions navigating bus stops, pedestrians, roundabouts, motorists and pedestrian crossings
To learn more about Transport for NSW Automated Vehicle trials visit: https://transportnsw.info/travel-info/ways-to-get-around/bus/automated-vehicle-trials