Self-drive test in Tauranga

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The country's first official demonstration of a "self" driving vehicle using New Zealand roads is set to take place in Tauranga in November.

The New Zealand Traffic Institute, Volvo, New Zealand Transport Agency and the Ministry of Transport had come together to show how an autonomous vehicle would handle New Zealand's road conditions.

Car manufacturer Volvo would demonstrate the technology on a 10-15km stretch of public road in Tauranga as part of the national Trafinz transport conference.

Volvo New Zealand national manager Coby Duggan said the vehicle would self-drive using sophisticated technology to navigate the road, with driver interaction only required at the halfway point of the trip.

Mr Duggan said the demonstration would take place in a "real world" environment with other motorists.

Anders Eugensson, a visiting expert from Volvo's Swedish headquarters, said the technology offered significant benefits for New Zealanders who commute daily or who were travelling between cities.

"Our research shows around nine in every 10 crashes have a driver causation error component and the reality is, self-driving cars simply do not get distracted.

"We believe this technology will greatly reduce the number of collisions on New Zealand roads while also improving efficiency," he said.

Mr Eugensson said autonomous driving would also help reduce congestion and improve productivity by reducing the daily commute stresses for workers and intercity travellers.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said the trial reflected the country's world-leading regulation around autonomous vehicles, which encouraged new technology while protecting public safety.

"Autonomous vehicles will be a big part of the future of transport and offer potential safety, efficiency and environmental benefits. It is exciting to see international recognition that New Zealand is at the forefront of this technology."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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