The union representing public transport drivers says the launch of a driverless shuttle in Newcastle is an example of an unsafe and inefficient gimmick.
City of Newcastle says a driverless bus - funded by the federal government - will be available for people to test ride at Wheeler Place during Supercars weekend.
But NSW Rail, Tram and Bus Union tram and bus division president Daniel Jaggers said there were safety concerns associated with autonomous vehicles.
"Autonomous vehicles have no capacity to make life-saving decisions. Only human drivers can assess conditions and potential hazards, reacting in a split second to keep their passengers safe," he said.
"A supervising operator with a remote control, which is what these shuttles have, is not good enough. This is only the first step - we know the future of autonomous vehicles means the loss of real, skilled jobs."
As the Newcastle Herald previously reported, the bus will run from 10am on Saturday and Sunday and staff from transport operator Keolis Downer will be in Wheeler Place to answer questions about the shuttle.
A council spokesman said safety of the community was "paramount" and the shuttle, which traveled at a top speed of 25km/h, was being trialed in controlled environments.
"If the shuttle detects that its path is blocked via its sensors, the vehicle will slow and stop before the obstacle," he said.
"Depending on the obstacle, the shuttle may suggest a path to avoid it, or the attendant may need to take control of the vehicle to manoeuvre before the shuttle can restart driving autonomously."
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