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Driverless bus in Darwin Australian first

AAP logoAAP 15/12/2016 Lucy Hughes Jones

Territorians will be the first passengers in Australia to ride a driverless bus - if they dare.

The Northern Territory government has pledged $150,000 towards a six-month trial that begins early next year in Darwin.

It's the first fully operational shuttle bus in Australia, putting Darwin on the map of jurisdictions developing autonomous transport worldwide, including Singapore, Dubai, France, the Netherlands, the US and Japan.

"Autonomous transport technology is no longer science fiction - it's here and we are leading the way," NT Chief Minister Michael Gunner said.

Mr Gunner said he would feel safe on the bus and so should everybody else.

"If people are terrified by the bus, that's something we'll have to manage," he said.

The bus provides zero emissions and carries up to a dozen passengers at a time.

Guided by GPS, cameras and multi-sensor localisation technologies, it runs for 12 hours per charge.

Mr Gunner said the air-conditioned bus will provide relief from steamy wet season conditions, transporting people from Darwin's Waterfront precinct to Stokes Hill Wharf on a repeat loop.

If all goes well, the bus could link up Darwin's CBD, and Mr Gunner is open to exploring further options in the Top End.

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