An Easy Mile EZ10 electric, driverless shuttle bus makes its maiden voyage along The Esplanade in Mooloolaba.
An Easy Mile EZ10 electric, driverless shuttle bus makes its maiden voyage along The Esplanade in Mooloolaba. Stuart Cumming

No driver, no brakes: All aboard bus of the future

A FUTURISTIC bus turned plenty of heads on its maiden voyage along a busy beach front this morning.

Coast residents will have a chance to experience driverless technology at Mooloolaba in the coming days during a public demonstration of French company Easy Mile's EZ10 electric shuttle.

The $320,000 shuttle carries up to 12 people and can reach speeds up to 45kmh.

But its journey along The Esplanade was limited to 7kmh.

Easy Mile head of Asia Pacific Simon Pearce said the shuttle was controlled using sensors, lasers and cameras.

"It operates completely autonomously- so no steering wheel, no driver's seat, no accelerator, no brake," Mr Pearce said.

"On each corner we have sensors which detect the road (and) they detect if people are walking in front of the vehicle.

 

An Easy Mile EZ10 electric, driverless shuttle bus makes its maiden voyage along The Esplanade in Mooloolaba.
An Easy Mile EZ10 electric, driverless shuttle bus makes its maiden voyage along The Esplanade in Mooloolaba. Stuart Cumming

He said another of its type had been in use in Darwin for about 11 months and trials had also been conducted in Cairns and Canberra.

"We would love to work with the (Sunshine Coast) council to purchase one."

Sunshine Coast police district officer Superintendent Darryl Johnson said he enjoyed being on board for the first trip.

"From a personal perspective I think it is really exciting," Supt Johnson said.

"From a policing perspective we have got to move with the times."

He said the shuttles had the potential to negate the need for more vehicles in the Coast's busiest areas.

"Anything we can do on our roads to make them safer is fantastic.

"By all accounts, this type of technology will make our roads safer."

 

Mayor Mark Jamieson and Simon Pearce, from Easy Mile, step off a an electric, driverless shuttle in Mooloolaba.
Mayor Mark Jamieson and Simon Pearce, from Easy Mile, step off a an electric, driverless shuttle in Mooloolaba. Stuart Cumming

Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said Coast residents would be the first in South East Queensland to experience the technology.

"Electric driverless technology is definitely of interest to us in the long term as we consider transport solutions for our communities," Cr Jamieson said.

The shuttle will be running up and down The Esplanade during the day from Thursday until Saturday.



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