WA’s mid-west will soon experience driverless technology for the first time, with RAC and the City of Greater Geraldton partnering to bring the RAC Intellibus® to the region.

The RAC Intellibus®, which has seen more than 16,100 passengers take a ride since launching on the streets of South Perth in 2016, will visit the Geraldton foreshore for several months starting in April.

RAC Executive General Manager Advocacy and Members, Patrick Walker said it would provide the people of Greater Geraldton with a unique glimpse into the future. 

“We’re really excited to be partnering with the City of Greater Geraldton to bring this world-leading driverless technology to an iconic Western Australian location,” Mr Walker said.

“Regional areas present unique road safety and mobility challenges — that’s why engaging these communities is a priority, to help us all better understand and prepare for the changing nature of transport.

“Human error is the cause of the vast majority of road deaths and serious injuries, so helping to safely transition to driverless technology sooner could help save hundreds of Australian lives and prevent thousands of serious injuries.”

City of Greater Geraldton Mayor Shane Van Styn said it’s a huge opportunity for the region.

“This experience is a huge coup for Geraldton and we know both our community and visitors alike will love the addition to our CBD,” Mr Van Styn said. 

“Not only are we embracing state of the art technology, but this will be fantastic for tourism and marketing of the Midwest.

“I can already envisage the Intellibus will be utilised significantly - especially during peak times such as cruise ship visits. 

“This really is a fantastic outcome for Geraldton and we look forward to working with RAC on the implementation.”  

Last year, the RAC Intellibus® travelled to Busselton for eight weeks — marking the first regional experience of driverless technology in WA.

“Nearly 1,600 passengers experienced driverless technology in the south-west during our hugely successful visit to Busselton last year, and we’re excited to now extend this opportunity to residents and visitors in Geraldton,” Mr Walker said.

“The demonstration will ensure even more Western Australians can see, experience and share their views on the technology so that together, we can help prepare WA for a driverless future.”

RAC’s driverless vehicle program is supported by the WA Government with the demonstration pending the provision of a Special Permit to operate issued by the Department of Transport.  


About the Geraldton Experience:

During the demonstration, passengers will board the RAC Intellibus® outside the Geraldton Visitor Centre and travel on a 2.6km loop in the vicinity of the Geraldton Foreshore, Marine Terrace mall, the newly developed Town Square, Ghost Office and Rocks Centre, and the Museum of Geraldton. Those onboard will learn about the changing nature of transport, mobility, road safety and observe how the Intellibus® interacts with road users including motorists, cyclists and pedestrians.

For the first time, the RAC Imagine Program™, a free education excursion for primary school students, will take place in regional WA. In a day of interactive activities, students board the RAC Intellibus®, get hands on with the impact Automated Vehicle technology can have on road safety through coding and, based on the day’s learnings, construct their own futuristic sculptures from recycled materials. 

About the RAC Intellibus®:

Since 2015, RAC has been working to help prepare a roadmap for how Western Australia can prepare for and transition to driverless vehicles. On 31 August 2016, with support from the WA Government, the City of South Perth, and vehicle manufacturer NAVYA, Australia’s first public trial of a driverless vehicle was launched. As of January 2020, more than 16,100 passengers have experienced the Intellibus®, which has travelled more than 24,770 kms in autonomous mode.

RAC has two driverless buses. The RAC Intellibus® trial will continue in South Perth during the Geraldton experience.

For more information, visit http://www.rac.com.au/intellibus

RAC Media Contact: Caitlin Barr, 0401 703 719 or media@rac.com.au