The Western Australian city of Perth is now home to one of the world’s first driverless, on-demand vehicles, after the official unveiling of the RAC Intellicar yesterday.
RAC is an insurance and breakdown recovery service in Australia. It previously showcased ideas for a driverless minibus called an Intellibus, citing David Hasselhoff and Batman as influences.
Designed as a shared mobility service, the RAC Intellicar will become the newest addition to RAC’s automated vehicle program, supported by the Western Australian Government and vehicle manufacturer, Navya.
RAC Group CEO Terry Agnew says the arrival of the prototype vehicle was a significant transportation milestone for both Western Australia and Australia.
Agnew says: “How we move around is rapidly evolving and being able to test emerging vehicle technologies right here in Western Australia will help us adapt to these changes in the safest way possible.
“Human error is the cause of the vast majority of road deaths and serious injuries, so if we can help Western Australia and Australia safely transition to driverless vehicles sooner, hundreds of Australian lives could be saved.
“Every year, the cars we drive are becoming increasingly automated, and the adoption of these new technologies by manufacturers is only accelerating.
“Over the coming years, vehicle automation will become more prolific within our transport network, which is why it’s critical we conduct trials like these to better understand the potential impacts and opportunities.
“Providing a way for our members and the community to get involved is central to our trials, and the feedback we’ve gathered from participants since starting this journey with the RAC Intellibus in 2015 has been very insightful.
“Having a robust understanding of the technology and what it means for Western Australia will help develop a roadmap for the safe transition to our driverless future.”
Navya CEO, Christophe Sapet, says: “Australia is a strategic place to test, showcase and deploy new technologies in the region.
“The governments’, as well as RAC’s, enthusiasm for new vehicle technology, innovation and the need to make smart mobility solutions readily available to the community in this part of the world has led us to confirm one of our trials here in Western Australia.”
RAC expects to take delivery of additional Intellicars later this year. In the coming months, RAC will work with the Western Australian Government to identify potential trial locations, with public trials planned for 2019.