Driverless vehicle trial at Elliot Gardens has come to a close

LAUNCH: RDA's Stephen Shotton, Member for Finniss David Basham and Village Manager Vicki Neilson.
LAUNCH: RDA's Stephen Shotton, Member for Finniss David Basham and Village Manager Vicki Neilson.

The residents of Elliot Gardens have said goodbye to the Aurrigo pod 'Elliot' with a formal celebration after a successful eight week trial. The first trial of this type in South Australia was designed to showcase how autonomous vehicle technology could deliver improved mobility for village residents.

Almost 50 residents participated in a co-design session conducted by the Global Centre for Modern Ageing, where they shared their visions for future super autonomous pods which could meet all their mobility needs and wants. Ideas ranged from eco-friendly hovercrafts to app-enabled regional tour driverless buses.

Alexandrina Council Mayor Keith Parkes and Regional Development Manager Steve Shotton from Regional Development Australia Adelaide Hills, Fleurieu and Kangaroo Island officially closed the trial.

Mr Shotton said "it was a first for the region and for residents to have a final chance to contribute to the practical application of innovative technologies, which will improve services in regional communities," he said. Mr Parkes said "the residents of Elliot Gardens embraced this amazing technology".

Vicki Neilson, Village Manager of Elliot Gardens retirement village hoped they may be able to welcome an autonomous vehicle like 'Elliot' into the village permanently in the future.

Roger van der Lee, Director Autonomous Programs APAC said he hoped the residents enjoyed the opportunity to provide valuable input into the development of the company's autonomous vehicles.

"This trial provided us with valuable user feedback on the real-life experience of an autonomous mobility service and the performance of the pod, which will contribute to future service and technical developments," said Mr van der Lee.

Global Centre for Modern Ageing Executive Director of the LifeLab Ms Veera Mustonen said "the GCMA was incredibly proud to be part of such an innovative project and to have been welcomed into the Elliot Gardens community for the project."

The Global Centre for Modern Ageing will be presenting the research trial results to Aurrigo on Tuesday 18 June 2019.

The trial was supported by the South Australian Government's Future Mobility Lab Fund, which aims to encourage and stimulate developments in connected and autonomous vehicles and position South Australia at the forefront of these emerging technologies.