Automated Vehicle testing set to begin in rural Victoria

Australia are about to move a step closer to seeing automated vehicles on the roads, with autonomous vehicle trials set to take place from next month in Victoria.

With a focus on creating safer roads in Australia and cutting the road toll, the Victorian State Government will invest $9 million in the testing of future car technology, with trials set to take place on high-speed rural roads at the Mornington Peninsula. Additional trials will begin a short time later near Ballarat.

Road Safety Victoria chief executive Robyn Seymour said the implementation of autonomous driving would go a long way to reducing the number of serious injuries and lives lost as a result of road accidents.

“It’s a tragic fact that around 90% of crashes are caused by some form of human error,” said Ms Seymour.

“The sooner we can get this technology and its capability to save lives in our vehicles, the closer we get towards zero.”

Attitudes towards autonomous vehicles potentially driving us around have varied among road users, with some questioning the feasibility of making it a safe reality.

However, Ford Engineer Trent McNeil, believes that not only are we quickly approaching this reality, but that it will also greatly affect future road infrastructure.

“The real game changer is likely going to be in a couple of years’ time,” said Mr McNeil.

“This would hopefully see freeways and major arterial roads be geographically zoned for automated driving, so you don’t have to touch the steering wheel anymore.”

Automated capabilities can already be found in many new cars through “level 2 automation”, with driver assist technology capable of aiding with braking, accelerating and steering in certain conditions.

Advancing to level 3 automation would allow drivers to only have to touch the steering wheel for the first and last legs of their journey, with specially designated ‘automated lanes’ made available.

“Your car will drive itself, which will keep traffic moving at an ideal speed and distance, and we can expect to see fewer incidents as the automation reduces human error,” said Mr McNeil.

While Ford will not take part in the trials, the company has planned to have a fully autonomous vehicle in operation by 2021.

Original source: Herald Sun | Automated Vehicle testing set to begin in rural Victoria

24 Oct 2019