Newcastle’s driverless shuttle trial


Take a ride on Newcastle’s driverless shutte

The free shuttle service runs between the Watt Street and Nobbys Beach roundabouts on weekdays between 10am and 2pm.

Jump on board at one two bus stops on the route:

  • Wharf Road, east of the Watt Street roundabout, adjacent to Foreshore Park
  • Wharf Road, west of the Nobbys Beach roundabout

Just turn up at one of the bus stops to ride for free. You will need to fill out the registration and survey before you take a ride. Our friendly team will assist you.

The shuttle trial is being operated in the streets of Newcastle by Keolis Downer, on behalf of City of Newcastle.

The trial is part of a suite of mobility, energy and data innovations contained with the Newcastle Smart City Strategy, which received $5m funding through the Federal Government’s Smart Cities and Suburbs program last year.

The driverless shuttle has undergone rigorous safety planning and testing to operate on public roads. Testing was finalised in mid-March to operate the trial along Wharf Road between the Watt Street and Nobbys Beach roundabouts, using a fully automated electric NAVYA shuttle.

The trial will run for 3 months. During that time, residents and visitors will have the chance to ride the shuttle for free and provide feedback on the new accessible mode of transport, which will play an important role in customers’ multi-modal journeys in the future. 

View the route map here: Newcastle_driverless_map                                 

Our COVID response 

Here at Keolis Downer, we will have measures in place to limit the spread of coronavirus and ensure the safety of our customers, including:

  • The shuttle will undergo a daily deep clean and there will be additional cleaning throughout the day, with special attention on high frequency touch surfaces.
  • Cleaning products and hand sanitisation stations will be available to support our staff in good hygiene practices
  • Customers will be required to register prior to riding the shuttle and will be provided with a dedicated seat on board.
  • Doors will automatically open to minimise customer contact on board the shuttle
  • For social distancing only 3 people and the shuttle chaperone are allowed on board the shuttle at one time

 We encourage customers to:

  • Follow NSW Health advice
  • Practice good hand hygiene by washing your hands frequently
  • Allow as much distance from others
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow
  • Stay at home and avoid travelling altogether if unwell
  • Avoid close contact with staff on board services

The vehicle

The fully accessible, 11-seat NAVYA vehicle has the latest technology, with sensors and cameras that assesses its surrounding environment.

The on-board computer and sensing systems can detect obstacles, anticipate movement or risk of collision, measure the vehicle’s movement and determine its travel route, while also making decisions to slow down, brake and alternate its path.

Newcastle’s driverless shuttle is fully electric and automated, however a chaperone will be on board the vehicle when it is operating. The driverless shuttle trial has been developed in accordance with national and NSW legislation and regulations to ensure it meets required safety standards.

Bus new 2


The trial will continue to explore the role of driverless shuttles in real operating conditions and the role it plays for community and multi-modal transport operations as a first and last mile solution.

Newcastle’s driverless shuttle trial will run for 3 months.

While the shuttle is fully accessible with an automatic ramp, we are wanting to better understand safety requirements such as restraints to ensure the wheelchair is secured in case the shuttle needs to emergency brake in the on road environment. 

The shuttle is a free service. We encourage the community to ride on the shuttle and experience the vehicle in autonomous mode.
Get in touch to discuss the trial by filling out the form below.

Contact us

Get in touch with us by filling out the form below.

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