RACQ Smart Shuttle

The RACQ Smart Shuttle will operate a series of trials over five years to explore the potential for autonomous vehicles to address various transport issues, including transport disadvantage. The trials will also expand understanding about the safety of autonomous vehicles, their suitability to Queensland driving conditions and how they interact with other road users.

Trials and research

The RACQ Smart Shuttle is a driverless bus that is being deployed in a series of trials to explore the potential for autonomous vehicles. The trials will help us better understand how autonomous vehicles work, their suitability to Queensland driving conditions and how they interact with other road users.

Phase one was located on Karragarra Island between November 2019 and April 2020 and was Queensland’s first full on-road trial. Phase two was carried out at Raby Bay from November 2020 until June 2021. These trials were a joint initiative between RACQ and Redland City Council.

The RACQ Smart Shuttle carried over 1,450 passengers throughout the trial in Raby Bay and 949 passengers at Karragarra Island.

Phase three of the trial is due to begin in January 2022 on the Gold Coast which will be a more complex traffic environment and give RACQ key learnings about how the vehicle behaves with a number of different road users groups like pedestrians, cars, trucks, and light rail.

Gold Coast smart shuttle route

Gold Coast Smart Shuttle trial

Hours of operation

The RACQ Smart Shuttle will operate a limited service in December 2021. Full service is due to commence in January 2022 and specific times of operation will be confirmed closer to commencement. For more information visit www.cityofgoldcoast.com.au/smartshuttle

What is the Gold Coast Smart Shuttle trial route?

The RACQ Smart Shuttle will operate a fixed 2.4km route in the Main Beach precinct travelling between Tedder Avenue, Main Beach Parade and Breaker Street.

How long is the trial running?

The Gold Coast Smart Shuttle Trial at Main Beach will run from January 2022 until December 2022.

How can I get involved or find out more about the trial?

Please see City of Gold Coast website for more information about the trial, the vehicle and for any service disruption updates.

Will there be an operator/driver?

While the RACQ Smart Shuttle is fully autonomous, a chaperone will be on board to assist passengers, administer user surveys and to answer any questions regarding the technology, safety and operation of the RACQ Smart Shuttle.

The City of Gold Coast manages the daily operations during the trial. The chaperones are employed by Surfside Buslines and are accredited transported operators.

The chaperone will also be able to manually operate the shuttle if required.

How does the RACQ Smart Shuttle work?

The RACQ Smart Shuttle uses autonomous driving systems and multiple lidar to navigate the route and detect and react to any obstacle in the shuttle’s pathway.
Other features of the RACQ Smart Shuttle include:

  • Level 4 - high automation
  • Fully electric
  • Six seats
  • Seatbelts onboard
  • Electric ramp for wheelchair access
  • Maximum trial speed - 20km/hr
  • Obstacle detection - within 40 metres.

Find out more about the current trial

Trial details

The RACQ Smart Shuttle carried over 1,450 passengers throughout the trial in Raby Bay. The trial ran from November 2020 until June 30, 2021, and provided free transport for residents and visitors was provided between the Raby Bay Harbour precinct at the southern end of Masthead Drive to Raby Bay Foreshore Park.

Find out more

See the Smart Shuttle in action

Things to note

The information in this article has been prepared for general information purposes only and is not intended as legal advice or specific advice to any particular person. Any advice contained in the document is general advice, not intended as legal advice or professional advice and does not take into account any person’s particular circumstances. Before acting on anything based on this advice you should consider its appropriateness to you, having regard to your objectives and needs.