Influencers explore the driverless shuttle at Tonsley Innovation District
It seems to be the hot topic but driverless vehicles are certainly coming, and in South Australia trials are already underway in our very own backyard!
Some of us are excited about the prospect of this new emerging technology, whilst others are apprehensive about a vehicle that operates without a human in control… and probably rightly so! For most of our human history, we have relied on getting from A to B in forms of transport that are predominantly controlled by human intervention.
However, ‘auto-pilot’ has been around for some time now either when we are flying, or even more scarily so when we use it as a term to describe a vague moment of driving our own vehicles!… Although our human pilots still need to step into gear and take control of aeroplanes at certain times, a lot of us have already experienced and accepted traveling where machine has predominantly been in control.
What’s the verdict? Everyone has their own view, but a group of The Plug-in’s Influencers recently threw caution to the wind to hop onto the driverless shuttle being trialled at the Tonsley Innovation District and experience this new phenomenon first hand. Here’s what they had to say about their thoughts prior to the journey, the experience whilst on it, and whether they would use that type of transport in the future.
Did you have any worries getting on the driverless shuttle today?
“No none whatsoever I find it very exciting to actually be able to take part in this… it’s something of the future!”
“Not now that I’m on it, but previously yes because I did hear something about a trial with a mock kangaroo was knocked over by a driverless vehicle and I did worry about being in an accident but now that I’m here it seems very safe because it’s a low speed… I feel quite comfortable about that.”
Is this something you would use in the future?
“Absolutely! I think it will be really helpful as you’re getting older and may not drive for whatever reason. It will give people back their independence.”
“Yeah absolutely! Terrific! Very smooth, very comfortable, slightly squeezy seats. I feel comfortable with the guide here observing – it might be different if he wasn’t here as a chaperone, but no, it’s been terrific! So good for the environment, and if there was a few running around this site, it would be very convenient!”
“Yes if it was here or in a confined space, but out on the open road I think I’d be a little nervous.”
Where type of areas could this technology could be used in the future?
“I think in more confided spaces initially like retirement villages would be ideal, perhaps shopping malls or carparks, and as the technology develops, you could obviously begin to use them more on public roads, but for the time-being I think more confined spaces.”
So, what is your personal verdict? Perhaps experiencing is believing. The driverless shuttle makes its way around the Tonsley Innovation Precinct at a top speed of 30km per hour several times a day and available to the public to participate in the trial. Visit https://www.flinders.edu.au/flex-bus to register for a ride on the driverless shuttle and make up your own mind about the latest technology sweeping the globe…