The trial of a driverless ute that will transport people to key locations in Dubbo is expected to be under way soon.
In 2018 the NSW government announced Dubbo would host the country's first Regional Autonomous Vehicle Trial.
It has been delayed due to COVID-19, however in a report to be presented to Dubbo Reginal Council on Monday night, council's senior traffic engineer Dennis Valantine said the project was "close to implementing an on-road trial".
"The trial has been established to test and establish a service using integrated software to manage the driving of the vehicle, communication with customers and ticketing. The service will use local roads and highways generally between the Dubbo City Regional Airport, Visitor Information Centre and Taronga Western Plains Zoo," Mr Valantine said.
"The trial will operate as a multi-point on demand transport service utilising stations with a tablet for customers without smart phones, as well as a phone app..."
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The vehicle will look like a regular crew cab ute. It's designed to blend in, apart from the signs that will show it's autonomous.
"The service will use state and local roads and in time will look to expand the network of stations through public consultation and feedback through the phone app," Mr Valantine said.
"The trial seeks to prove that the [Connected and Autonomous Vehicle] service concept can work in regional Australia and exist with the challenges of regional Australia."
However, for those concerned about an autonomous vehicle, it will be stewarded by a licenced driver, who is expected to sit in the passenger seat.
The issue is going to council on Monday night so a dedicated car space can be created for the ute in front of the Visitor Information Centre.
TfNSW is leading the project, Amey is managing it and Conigital has developed the vehicle to make it autonomous.
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