Bus and Tram Express
Bus and Tram Express

Minister Constance’s grand plan for driverless buses hits a surprise snag

Nov 15, 2017Uncategorized

Andrew Constance’s obsession with putting public bus drivers out of a job by introducing ‘driverless buses’ has hit a snag after one was involved in an accident in Las Vegas just two hours into its first day on the job.

To be fair, it was not the autonomous vehicles fault (a truck driver backed into it), by it does highlight the potentially serious consequences that can occur when you take a highly trained human bus driver away from behind the wheel.

Andrew Constance likes to talk a big game when it comes to driverless buses, but when it comes to driverless buses working Sydney’s streets and replacing STA drivers, he does not have answers to questions like:

  • How will an autonomous bus be able to see and wait bus for commuters running for it, or elderly passengers or people with prams who take longer to load and may require assistance?
  • Will an autonomous bus be able to detect a child who’s caught in the doors?
  • How will an autonomous bus see a person flagging down the bus?
  • Who will evacuate the bus when there’s a bus fire, as a highly trained STA bus driver did successfully and without serious injury or loss of life on the Sydney Harbour Bridge in September 2016?
  • What if here’s a medical emergency on the bus? Who will intervene? Contact emergency services? Divert the bus?
  • Who will intervene if a passenger is verbally abusing or assaulting another passenger on the bus? Who will contact the Police?
  • How can we be certain the driverless bus network will not be vulnerable to hacking and cyber terrorism?
  • Autonomous buses operate on GPS and an array of senses. What if those sensors fail on Sydney’s hectic roads?
  • We know that the NBN is unreliable, mobile phone coverage is patchy and can drop out, how can we be sure those systems won’t fail, leading to disaster?

Autonomous vehicles work if everything works perfectly all the time. Anybody who uses the internet, GPS or a mobile phone knows that those systems NEVER work perfectly all the time.

The facts are clear. We need to keep our highly trained human bus drivers.

Andrew Constance’s ‘grand plan’ for driverless buses is yet another ‘pie in the sky’ idea that demonstrates just how incompetent and out of touch he is.

The sooner this useless politician goes the better.

Time for Premier Berejiklian to give him a one way ticket to the back bench.

Read the full story in the Washington Post here