Paerata Rise - Smart Village tests self-driving shuttle system

Paerata Rise to become most modern town in region through high-tech collaboration Paerata Rise, the largest housing development currently under construction in Auckland, is set to become the ultimate Smart Village with the creation of New Zealand’s first community based private mobile network and an autonomous shuttle for residents.

The development, Paerata Rise , is the largest housing development currently under construction in Auckland. Over the next 25 years the 4,500 homes will be built over the 300-hectare site. Nestled amongst the 4,500 homes, Paerata Rise residents will have easy access to primary and secondary schools, tennis courts, a community swimming pool and a range of outdoor and indoor sporting facilities. Paerata Rise will be built to embrace a commitment to community ethics and modern innovation. Visit for more info.

Think Robotics, Dense Air and Ohmio have partnered to develop and build this cutting-edge system that will provide on demand transport to future residents of Paerata Rise via a smart phone app. Both the network and the technology it will power are now in test stages and are set to go live in 2021.

Chris Johnston, Executive Director for Paerata Rise says “Our goal is to be one of the most desirable places to live in Auckland and becoming a Smart Village is an extension of this. It means we are able to offer the utmost connection to our residents through a private network, and the most cutting-edge technologies.”

“We are proud to be able to support the unique, first class community being built at Paerata Rise with the latest concepts in mobile network technology. While everyone has experienced the frustration of bad coverage, ultimately an excellent network should go unnoticed – instead allowing users’ mobile applications, services, and other benefits to come to the fore,” adds Ross Spearman, General Manager of Dense Air New Zealand.

“The realities of smart villages and connected neighbourhoods are starting to emerge in the world around us, however the real ‘smarts’ need to be built into the foundations of communities which is why we are executing this project at this stage of our development,” says Johnston.

Throughout the current test phase, those working on the Smart Village project will utilise the small cell network deployed by Dense Air to trial different types of electronic methods and sensors to collect data and continue on-road trials of the autonomous shuttle – which arrived onsite in October and can be seen in action at Paerata Rise here.

“Insights gained from that data are used to manage assets, resources and services efficiently; in return, that data is used to improve the operations across the entire eco-system,” says Michael Johnston from Think Robotics.

The self-driving shuttle system is a key element to the state-of-the-art lifestyle Paerata Rise will offer residents as it will improve access between facilities such as park and ride spaces and the Paerata train station which is in plans to be developed.

“The autonomous vehicle will act as both an autonomous transport vehicle, navigating around a predefined circuit for residents to utilise, and as a platform for other services, such as connectivity to the outside world, to be delivered,” says Ohmio’s Executive Chairman Mohammed Hikmet.

“We were able to test, for the first time in New Zealand, our Hail service that allows the autonomous vehicle to pick up passengers on demand. Paerata Rise provided us the right environment to test our technologies and its interaction with the rest of the eco-system elements.”

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