Self-driving car to take on Tauranga traffic this week

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A driverless Volvo car is planned to drive through Tauranga traffic this Friday. Photo/file
A driverless Volvo car is planned to drive through Tauranga traffic this Friday. Photo/file

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

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.

The autonomous drive was planned for Friday at 12.30pm.

The three-day conference held at Trinity Wharf begins tomorrow and featured a variety of local and international speakers.

University professors and representatives from ACC, the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council, AA, NZ Police, KiwiRail and Ministry of Transport would be speaking.

Trafinz president Andy Foster said it would be a major turning point for the evolution of self-driving car technology on New Zealand roads

"We have heard so much about the potential of self-driving vehicles. The potential is here now, to completely change our way of life, our way of moving around and even the shape of our cities."

Volvo Cars' Henrik Jarlebratt said New Zealand was suited to take advantage of self-driving cars, trucks and buses.

"Autonomous vehicles will make the congested commute and intercity long-distance trips safe, efficient and less tiring or stressful," he said.

Mr Foster and Transport Minister Simon Bridges would be passengers in the demonstration vehicle.

Also part of the conference was the Orange Day Parade on Friday morning.

It was a celebration of all students from primary and intermediate schools that have worked alongside Travel Safe and police in road safety.

Students would dress in orange and chant road safety messages while carrying banners through the CBD.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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