New Zealand’s Christchurch International Airport has partnered with HMI Technologies to conduct the trials of a 15-seat fully autonomous electric vehicle by early 2017.

The first-of-its kind trial in the country will be conducted at the Christchurch Airport campus.

A French Navya shuttle has already been procured by HMI Technologies to perform the trials, which aims to pave the way for the operation of self-driving vehicles in New Zealand.

After receiving necessary regulatory approvals and addressing all safety issues, the vehicles are expected to be deployed for use on public roads.

Christchurch International Airport corporate affairs general manager Michael Singleton said: "We hope to eventually see autonomous vehicles operating in and around the airport.

“Before that could happen, we want to understand the infrastructure and operating requirements for these vehicles, to understand the human / technology interface and to build the safety case for autonomous vehicles on our campus.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

“The trial vehicle being electric also fits well with the airport's sustainability objectives."

"The trial vehicle being electric also fits well with the airport's sustainability objectives."

New Zealand’s former Secretary for Transport Martin Matthews is supervising the trials, the partners of which will work with researchers and developers from the University of Canterbury.

The university researchers will assist in designing and conducting the trials.

Matthews said: "Autonomous vehicles are coming, whether we are ready or not, so we are taking the initiative to be ready.

“Many people believe we are years away from seeing these vehicles on our roads, but I disagree.

“I believe they will be with us very soon, so it's important we understand what is required for them to operate safely here."

Christchurch City Council, the Ministry of Transport and the New Zealand Transport Agency will also take part in the upcoming trials.

Image: HMI Technologies procured a French Navya shuttle to conduct fully autonomous electric vehicle trials in New Zealand. Photo: courtesy of Christchurch International Airport Limited.