Trial for New Zealand's first driverless shuttle

  • 26/01/2017

Next time the airport shuttle is late, you won't be able to blame the driver because the new Smart Shuttle unveiled at Christchurch Airport on Thursday has no driver at the wheel.

The electric powered shuttle will be able to carry 15 people, travel a maximum of 50km/h and doesn't even have a steering wheel.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges believes these trials are the beginning of the future.

"This is definitely the future, we're going to see more and more of this [driverless vehicles] in the years to come," he says.

"It's definitely going to play a part in safety, over 90 percent of our deaths and serious injuries are a result of human factors. If you can take those [factors] away, the technology is definitely going to be safer."

Airport CEO Malcolm Johns says airport staff are excited by the new technology.

"We can see the potential for driverless vehicles to transform and enhance mobility and transport options on the airport campus," he says.

"We want to explore the possibility of deploying autonomous vehicles to assist people moving around our [airport] efficiently and sustainably, so we formed a partnership with HMI Technologies to consider how we might make this happen."

Trials will continue on private roads and campuses.

Mr Bridges says it's only a matter of time before driverless cars are on New Zealand roads.