On the road to a driverless future

News Update 31 August 2021
Public Art

The City of South Perth and RAC are celebrating the success of Australia’s first and longest-running public trial of driverless vehicles, with today marking five years since the RAC Intellibus® started carrying passengers on public roads.

On 31 August 2016, with support from the State Government and City of South Perth, the RAC Intellibus® trial was launched on the South Perth foreshore — as a world-leading initiative and the first of its kind in Australia.

RAC Group Executive Social and Community Impact Patrick Walker said the trial, and partnership with the City of South Perth, has been crucial in exploring the role driverless vehicles will play in WA into the future. 

“Driverless vehicles will dramatically reduce deaths and serious injuries on our roads, and transform the way we live and move around our communities,” Mr Walker said.

“Over the past five years, more than 22,500 people have been on-board the driverless shuttle bus and experienced the technology first-hand as it navigates traffic and interacts with other road users.

“The RAC Intellibus has now travelled more than 30,000kms in driverless mode on public roads in South Perth, and via regional demonstrations in Busselton and Geraldton. 

“Trialling the technology on public roads has been crucial in helping us gain a better understanding of how it can be applied to solve urban and regional mobility challenges, and create a safer and more sustainable Western Australia.

“Human error is the cause of almost all road trauma, so if we can help WA and Australia safely transition to driverless vehicles sooner, hundreds of Australian lives could be saved.”

To coincide with the five-year anniversary, a new sculpture has been unveiled on the South Perth foreshore. Standing three metres tall, the R/evolve sculpture was jointly commissioned by the City of South Perth and RAC and created by Tony Jones Art Projects. It conveys a sense of rapid movement and progress, symbolising the changing nature of transport in our growing city. 

“Not only does this iconic artwork recognise South Perth as the location of Australia’s first public trial of driverless technology, it also symbolises the pivotal role the City of South Perth has played in making the RAC Intellibus trial a reality,” Mr Walker said.

City of South Perth Mayor Greg Milner said the City is proud to partner with RAC to deliver positive outcomes to the community. 

“We continue to bring innovative new experiences to the City of South Perth through our partnership with RAC, including being the first local government in WA to trial driverless public transport on our roads.   

“The new public artwork, R/evolve, marks another significant achievement. It will further enhance South Perth Foreshore as a key inner-city destination, and be enjoyed by thousands of visitors each day. 

“I would like to congratulate the artists on bringing the concept of transport to life in the most creative way. This artwork will be a lasting tribute to the evolution of transport in South Perth and a celebration of our strong partnership with RAC.”

The RAC Intellibus® continues to take passengers on a 3.5km journey along the South Perth foreshore, stopping at one of Perth’s oldest landmarks, the Old Mill. To book your spot on-board, please visit the RAC website.

Media contact

For media enquiries, please contact the City’s Communications Officer.