Mass transit specialist Transit Australia Group (TAG) and electric driverless technology company EasyMile have entered into an exciting new partnership which could develop into the manufacture and assembly of autonomous electric vehicles in Australia.
The partnership combines EasyMile’s world-leading autonomous vehicle products and technology with TAG’s expertise and innovation in designing and operating mass transit networks to examine how autonomous vehicle technology could be used as a mobility solution in Australia.
In the first collaboration of its nature in Australia, the two parties will carry out several public trials of EasyMile’s flagship vehicle – the EZ10 driverless electric shuttle bus – which can operate in diverse environments including on existing roadway and public infrastructure utilising the company’s proprietary software.
TAG CEO Michael McGee said TAG’s mass transit capabilities and experience nationally will be critical in supporting the integration of the vehicles into public transport systems with a focus on deployment, operations and maintenance during the trials.
“This is an exciting opportunity for us to work with a world leader and to explore how we can integrate this emerging technology into existing public transport systems as a ‘first and last mile’ mobility solution,” Mr McGee stated.
The partnership will be based at TAG’s joint venture Precision Buses, an advanced manufacturing and mobility hub in Adelaide’s northern suburbs that is also home to supercar company Brabham Automotive and automotive suspension systems provider Supashock.
“Through Precision Buses we are helping to transition decades of existing advanced manufacturing expertise away from automotive and into next generation urban transport vehicles,” Mr McGee explained.
“Adding a world-leading autonomous electric vehicle technology company like EasyMile to the mix demonstrates our commitment to technology, investment and employment in South Australia.”
According to him, the partnership will also examine the opportunity to develop an autonomous version of TAG’s ZDi electric urban bus, as well as the option to locally manufacture and assemble EasyMile’s vehicles in Adelaide.
“Our immediate focus is on working with EasyMile to deliver successful trials across Asia- Pacific and expanding our local knowledge, skills and capabilities around driverless bus technology, operations and maintenance,” Mr McGee continued.
“However, as the market for autonomous electric vehicles matures we are well positioned through Precision Buses to locally manufacture and assemble autonomous vehicles – and this is something we are very excited about for South Australia.”
“Our ZDi electric bus, which is already manufactured in Adelaide and being trialled on the city’s public transport network, has flexible architecture allowing easy adaptation and integration of new driveline technology and autonomous control systems.”
Head of EasyMile Asia-Pacific Simon Pearce said TAG’s fully integrated solution will help the company deliver Easy Mile’s autonomous electric vehicles into any market.
“From operations through to maintenance and support, TAG has full service capabilities and we are delighted to be collaborating with a company equally passionate about developing an innovative autonomous vehicle hub in South Australia which creates significant employment opportunities and local economic benefit,” he concluded.