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Curtin’s driverless bus steering students towards an even brighter student experience

News story

Imagine riding a bus with no driver, remotely controlled with millimetre precision and loaded with data-collecting sensors, knowing this technology will be transforming our society into the not too distant future. It may sound like an opportunity that’s out of reach for most, but Curtin students have exclusive access to our very own NAYVA ARMA autonomous transport vehicle right now.

Curtin is the first Australian university to trial a commercial driverless bus

The driverless bus will allow us to explore not only how we commute, but how we engage with our community and environment. Curtin students will be at the forefront of working with industry to figure out the ethical, safety, economic and environmental issues, as we make significant contributions to the roll out of autonomous technology to the wider community.

The bus collects huge amounts of data through its sensors, which will allow Curtin to conduct experiments, and use the results to inform classroom teaching activities and further research. But it also has plenty of applications beyond emerging technology research.

This innovation will open up new research opportunities for many students, including those studying urban planning, health, environmental studies, business, communications and infrastructure, to name a few.

Curtin Academics are already researching how autonomous technology can benefit people with physical disabilities, help develop navigational satellite systems, and transform our relationship with everyday technologies.

A similar driverless vehicle, the RAC Intellibus™ operating on the South Perth foreshore, is testament to the enthusiasm and interest around this technology with thousands of passengers currently on the waiting list to take a ride and see what all the fuss is about. Meanwhile Curtin students have the rare opportunity to experience the bus first-hand on their very own ‘doorstep’, giving them direct access to an opportunity other people are literally queueing for.

Post graduate students will have the chance to chaperone the electric powered bus as it travels around the Curtin Bentley campus on a pre-determined route from building 304 to 408. The vehicle is programmed to follow a specific route and uses remote sensors, stereo cameras and GPS systems to determine its path and navigate obstacles. The chaperone will be in the bus to monitor its performance, and manually operate the controls if required.

Find out more about the Curtin driverless bus or apply to go for a ride.

If you’d like to learn more about where a career in research can take you, speak with your Lecturer or Course Coordinator, or find out more about Research at Curtin.