Bay of Plenty drivers dubious about self-driving cars may be inclined to stay off the roads today.

Car maker Volvo and NZTA are set to carry out the country's first public road demonstration of an automated vehicle in normal traffic conditions on a 15km stretch of road in Tauranga.

Transport Minister and local MP Simon Bridges will also be a passenger during the trip - part of a Trafinz conference - during which a "driver" will only be required to occasionally tell the vehicle they're still there.

A glimpse into the driverless car that took on the Tauranga Eastern Link today. Minister of Transport Simon Bridges is buckled up in the back.

Volvo senior product director Henrik Jarlebratt said the showcase wasn't just about technology, but about the wider framework in which self-driving cars would operate.


"It demonstrates that there is the necessary level of co-operation among car makers, government agencies and industry bodies in New Zealand to allow the widespread adoption of innovative new technologies," he said.

The demo will run on what is internationally called "level 2" or "partial automation", meaning the car will accelerate, brake and steer, but with the driver intervening if necessary and still responsible for the car.

A "level 4" vehicle intervenes even if a driver does not respond when alerted and a level 5 car has full control.