Via, developer of on-demand shared mobility solutions, announced its first public autonomous vehicle (AV) service in the world. The AV program, dubbed BusBot, is now fully operational, serving a community in New South Wales, Australia.
In partnership with local bus operator Busways, Transport for NSW, and AV technology provider EasyMile, BusBot will serve a local retirement community. The deployment will serve an entire community of seniors in need of a public transit solution, offering some unique benefits beyond a driverless vehicle.
Using the BusBot app (iOS and Android), users will be able to hail the autonomous BusBot directly from their smartphone. Via’s advanced algorithms will enable multiple riders to seamlessly share the driverless vehicle. The technology will direct passengers to a nearby virtual bus stop for pick up and drop off, and dynamically task the driverless vehicle to stops in real-time, allowing for quick and efficient shared trips without lengthy detours, or inconvenient fixed routes and schedules.
The deployment in Marian Grove began on April 8, 2019 and marks the second phase of BusBot’s pilot program, with plans to operate in the community for 22 weeks, giving Via and its partners time to test increasingly advanced AV elements. Service for riders will be free during the pilot program.