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How Kip is driving research and innovation

News story

How do you feel about driverless vehicles? Are you ready to let a machine make potentially life-or-death decisions for you?

Curtin is the first Australian university to purchase a commercial driverless bus. Named ‘Kip’ after John and Elsie Curtin’s pet kelpie, the electric bus will provide an opportunity for research in navigation satellite systems, road safety and ethical issues.

Built by Navya – a French company specialising in electric, autonomous systems – the bus seats 11 passengers and travels up to 45km/h on a pre-determined route, using computer programming and remote sensors, cameras and GPS navigation, with exact rules as to when to start, stop and negotiate temporary obstacles.

“Having this kind of technology available on the Curtin campus enables us to watch humans interacting with the technology,” says health sciences Professor Simone Pettigrew.

“So how do they feel about the technology prior to exposure? How do they feel about it afterwards? What are the sticking points? What are the things that we need to educate them about or tell them about to enable them to be more accepting, longer term, of the technology?”

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