The future has arrived in Busselton with the launch of the RAC Intellibus - a driverless vehicle - being trialled along the foreshore until June 30 this year.
The trial is being conducted as part of a partnership between the RAC and the City of Busselton and is the first of its kind in regional WA.
Community members and visitors will have the opportunity to experience driverless technology by booking a seat on the bus.
The 30-minute RAC Intellibus® experience starts at the front of the Busselton Visitor Centre, then heads east from Foreshore Parade and along Geographe Bay Road to the Busselton Volunteer Marine Rescue Centre.
RAC executive general manager advocacy and members Patrick Walker said he was delighted to see the first ever public demonstration of driverless vehicles in regional WA become a reality.
"We're very excited to bring the RAC Intellibus® to Busselton and to provide more Western Australians the chance to learn about driverless vehicles in the best way possible - by taking a ride in one," he said.
"This is one of the first times anywhere in the world that a regional community will get to experience driverless technology up close.
"It is a unique opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of what it could mean for WA and indeed Australia - especially in terms of road safety and accessible travel."
Mr Walker said when the technology became available in the future it would benefit people who experienced mobility issues, had disabilities, younger people and people with sight impairments.
"It opens up a whole new world of mobility for people," he said.
Mr Walker said it was important for the RAC to trial driverless technology so in the future it could help reduce road deaths and trauma.
He said WA now had the worst road death rate in Australia, and the RAC wanted to ensure the safe transition of driverless vehicles into the transport network.
"We want to do that because 94 per cent of all crashes are caused by human error, often it is not deliberate mistakes like drink driving or speeding," he said.
"But 70 per cent of crashes happen by people who are fatigued or have a moment of inattention, it is a really serious issue and driverless vehicles will be fantastic in reducing.
"If we could bring the technology forward two years in Australia we would save more than 2,500 lives and 30,000 serious injuries."
City of Busselton mayor Grant Henley said that working with the RAC on this exciting initiative represented a wonderful opportunity for the City of Busselton.
"Riding the driverless bus along the picturesque Busselton Foreshore offers a unique experience and I encourage locals and visitors to take advantage of this opportunity," he said.
The experience will be open to the public from Wednesday, May 8 to June, 30 2019 and will operate Wednesday to Sunday with rides every 30 minutes between 9.30am to 12pm and 1pm to 3pm.
Each ride will take 30 minutes in total and accommodates up to six people per ride.
To avoid missing out, participants are encouraged to pre-book a ride via rac.com.au/intellibus or by visiting the Busselton Information Centre during demonstration hours.
A second RAC Intellibus® will also continue to offer public rides along the streets of South Perth, where it has been operating since 2016 and has seen more than 11,800 people take a ride.
The RAC Intellibus® initiative is supported by the WA Government through the provision of a Special Permit to operate on public roads as well as the Australian Government through its national Smart Cities and Suburbs Program.
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