Out with the old

It is in­ter­est­ing that au­to­mated ve­hi­cle man­u­fac­tur­ers are look­ing to set up man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­i­ties in Aus­tralia, es­pe­cially as tra­di­tional ve­hi­cle fac­to­ries dis­ap­pear, writes Ran­dal­lJohn­ston

ABC (Australia) - - AT THE HELM -

In­deed, state gov­ern­ments seem very keen to em­brace tri­als of au­to­mated ve­hi­cles and th­ese tri­als are tak­ing place in just about every state and ter­ri­tory in 2017.

Still we are a long way off hav­ing a reg­u­la­tory frame­work in place that will al­low for the safe op­er­a­tion of driver­less buses on our roads.

Euro 7 won’t ex­ist; we are likely to skip straight to elec­tric zero emis­sions tech­nol­ogy in the years ahead. I was more than a lit­tle sur­prised to see that French driver­less ve­hi­cle com­pany Navya will es­tab­lish an Asia-Pa­cific man­u­fac­tur­ing fa­cil­ity in Ade­laide after reach­ing an agree­ment with the South Aus­tralian Gov­ern­ment.

Navya says it is at­tracted by South Aus­tralia’s car­bon-neu­tral and re­new­able en­ergy fo­cus. The French  rm cur­rently has man­u­fac­tur­ing op­er­a­tions in Lyon, France and Detroit, Michi­gan.

A plant in Ade­laide will se­cure op­er­a­tions in Europe, the Amer­i­cas and Asia-Paci c.

Navya’s ARMA shut­tles are elec­tric, 100 per cent driver­less and can carry up to 15 peo­ple.

Most auto man­u­fac­tur­ers and new en­trants will have driver­less car mod­els on the roads by 2020 and a re­port by In­tel fore­casts the au­ton­o­mous ve­hi­cle in­dus­try will be worth US$7 tril­lion by 2050; of which 47 per cent is ex­pected to be fo­cused within the Asia-Paci c re­gion.

Less than a week after this news broke, what do you know … Oh­mio Au­to­mo­tion will start man­u­fac­tur­ing self- driv­ing ve­hi­cles in New Zealand!

The ve­hi­cles will range in size from small to large shut­tles and freight pods and cus­tomis­able ve­hi­cles. A range of four Oh­mio mod­els is planned for pro­duc­tion be­fore 2019.

So how did we sud­denly go from a re­gion where it’s by all account too ex­pen­sive to man­u­fac­ture any­thing here and be glob­ally com­pet­i­tive, to the eco­nomic jewel of the Paci c?

Beats me, but it is good PR for th­ese for­ward think­ing pol­lies and hope­fully will lead to fu­ture jobs for bus in­dus­try heads down the track.

But there’s plenty more go­ing on in Oc­to­ber! Proterra’s Cat­a­lyst E2 Max elec­tric bus was driven for more than 1773 kilo­me­tres, set­ting a new world record for dis­tance trav­elled in an elec­tric ve­hi­cle on a sin­gle charge in the United States last month ( p15).

We visit the Vol­gren fac­tory in Perth to see what’s com­ing off the pro­duc­tion line in 2017-2018 and how the or­gan­i­sa­tion is adapt­ing to a rapidly chang­ing mar­ket ( p24).

ABC also sits down with the crew at Mel­bourne-based Dyson Group of Com­pa­nies. Given the pur­chase of sev­eral smaller op­er­a­tors in re­gional Vic­to­ria, it has been a busy year for them ( p30).

The hard work is pay­ing off for Mar­shall’s Bus and Coach after re­cent Cus­tom Bus ad­di­tions to its eet. Ear­lier this year the re­gional NSW op­er­a­tor took de­liv­ery of 12 new SB50 buses built by Cus­tom Bus Aus­tralia for its school bus eet, so we take one for a spin ( p38).

Ten Mercedes-Benz Sprinter Trans­fer Minibuses will be used as part of an on- de­mand pub­lic trans­port trial in New South Wales ( p44).

ABC part­nered with this year’s Aus­trala­sia Bus & Coach Expo or­gan­is­ers and hosts Queens­land Bus In­dus­try Coun­cil (QBIC) on the Gold Coast. There was a tonne of new prod­ucts and ser­vices on show at the expo ( p20).

Didn’t make it to the show? It was a mad rush even to get a photo spread from the expo into this edi­tion, so we will bring you con­tin­ued cov­er­age in the next edi­tion of ABC mag­a­zine.

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