South Australia may have gotten a head start with trials in 2015, but New South Wales (NSW) is also committing to a driverless car future. Automated cars without drivers could be on NSW roads within five years, the state's minister for transport, Andrew Constance, predicted at a summit on the future of transport in Sydney Monday. "We're going to have driverless cars on our streets, in our suburbs," he told reporters. In his opinion, the South Australian government may have "jumped the gun a little bit" with its initial road tests last year. To support its own rollout of driverless cars, the NSW State Government announced the creation of a Smart Innovation Centre in western Sydney.
Slowly but surely, Australia is becoming a rideshare-friendly nation, but not every state is doing it Uber's way. On Tuesday, the South Australian government announced that from July 1, it would become the latest region to legalise services such as UberX that let people drive their own cars to take customers from A to B. It follows the legalisation of ridesharing in 2015 by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW) governments. Like NSW, the government will be offering an assistance package to ease the transition for taxi drivers. South Australians will presumably help pay for the scheme, handing over a levy of A 1 per ride in taxis and rideshare services. "Our reforms deliver a genuine level playing field between taxis, chauffeur vehicles and new entrants like Uber," State Premier Jay Weatherill said in the statement.
The New South Wales government is rolling out electronic displays at a few of its bus stops, using the solar-powered signs to direct people navigating the disruptions to public transport. In a LinkedIn post from Transport for NSW (TfNSW) coordinator general Marg Prendergast, it was explained the new signs, using e-ink technology, are being rolled out at Station Link bus stops during the temporary shutdown of train stations between Epping and Chatswood. For a cost of AU$49 million, Station Link will see the addition of over 120 new buses, expected to provide thousands of extra services from September 30 while TfNSW upgrades the rail line between Epping and Chatswood. It is expected the line will be closed for around seven months. "The solar-powered signs give customers real-time updates about when their next service will turn up using GPS data that tracks our buses," Prendergast said.
The New South Wales government has welcomed the first passengers on its Driverless Smart Shuttle at Sydney Olympic Park, with the service set to officially start next week, marking stage two of the state's driverless trial. Through its Smart Innovation Centre -- a hub for the "collaborative" research and development of safe and efficient emerging transport technology -- the NSW government in August last year partnered with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG, and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to conduct a two-year trial of the shuttle. Legislation was passed alongside the formation of the hub to approve trials of automated vehicles. The hub has since added the University of Technology Sydney, to enable the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. The legislation allows government to partner with industry, researchers, and universities to be a testing ground for automated vehicles, with the trial touted as bringing driverless cars a step closer to reality in Australia.
Even when you're a fully-fledged adult, you sometimes just wish your mum or dad would pick you up from whichever awful party you find yourself at on Saturday night. If a new initiative from Uber goes to plan, you could be in luck. The rideshare company is partnering with Seniors Card NSW, a New South Wales government scheme that aims to support people over the age of 60 in retirement. Announced Tuesday, the deal will give the scheme's more than 1.4 million Senior Card members A 20 off their first Uber ride, but also aims to get them behind the wheel. SEE ALSO: Is it cheaper to commute to work in your own car, a taxi or an Uber?