Tauranga will host a three-day national conference for the New Zealand Local Authority Traffic Institute – known as Trafinz – on Wednesday.
And it includes a demonstration of a self-driving car – the first event of its kind in New Zealand.
Volvo and Trafinz aim to demonstrate an autonomous vehicle in action on November 18 – the day the conference concludes.
The New Zealand Transport Agency and Ministry of Transport have been working with car manufacturer Volvo and Trafinz to ensure the trial will operate within the law, including appropriately managing any safety risks.
Volvo NZ national manager Coby Duggan says the vehicle will self-drive on a 10km-15km stretch of public road in Tauranga using sophisticated technology to navigate it – with driver interaction only required at the halfway-point of the trip.
Coby says the demonstration will take place in a ‘real world’ environment with other motorists.
Meanwhile, the 2016 Trafinz Conference from November 16-18 will have the theme ‘Communities, Growth and Transportation’.
The conference – at trinity Wharf – will centre on how NZ communities can successfully manage the impacts of growth into the future, while delivering a safe and efficient transport system that is well balanced to meet the needs of its diverse communities.
“The future for NZ’s people, places and infrastructure will be influenced by how we plan and manage all aspects of transportation, not just the roads,” says the Trafinz conference webpage.
“One of NZ’s major challenges is managing growth and seizing the opportunities this presents, but also being mindful of meeting people’s transport expectations and ensuring our rural communities and aging population remain connected with the wider NZ.”
According to Trafinz, for the last two years parts of NZ has seen unprecedented levels of growth, in the economy, property market, residential and commercial development.
“Growth changes the way we live. It increases the need for additional infrastructure, it impacts the environment, rural communities and jobs, and it requires the support of new technology, which will allow us to remain competitive across the world.”
Trafinz says globally NZ is known for its ambition, innovation, its adaptability and its all-round Kiwi ingenuity – and this conference will look at how the country’s industry is embracing and adapting to rapid and complex changes, not only within the main urban centres but also in rural communities.
The conference will include the Trafinz Achievement Awards to recognise organisations, individuals or communities that have made an outstanding contribution and have demonstrated leadership in transportation safety and sustainability in NZ.
And a raft of speakers from university professors to personnel from Trafinz, ACC, the Motorcycle Safety Advisory Council, AA, NZ Police, KiwiRail through to car manufacturer Volvo and Ministry of Transport will talk on nearly every traffic-related topic. Transport Minster Simon Bridges will speak on the conference’s final day. For more information, see: http://trafinz.org.nz/conferences/2016/programme