Last week the government ran an automated vehicle trial on the Monash-CityLink-Tullamarine corridor, to help Victoria prepare for the future of driverless vehicles.
The government partnered with VicRoads, RACV and Transurban to trial the vehicles, from manufacturers BMW, Mercedes, Tesla and Volvo. Volvo was a key partner in the Southern Hemisphere’s first driverless tests in Adelaide earlier this year.
The aim of the study was to look at how to prepare road infrastructure, regulations and the community for the integration of this new technology into our transport system.
This first phase of the program examines how features like lane use, adaptive cruise control and traffic sign recognition respond to the road environment, including tunnels, road works, congestion, electronic speed signs and line markings.
The vehicles involved in the trial comply with existing Australian Design Rules and road safety regulations. Professional drivers held the steering wheel at all times when in live traffic. Hands-free testing was not a part of the trial in this phase.
Automated vehicles are an important step to reducing road trauma, with human error contributing to more than 90% of crashes. They have enormous potential to make our journeys safer and more efficient, and to help the community travel with more ease, including people with limited mobility.
The complete trial program will take two years and consists of three phases. Phase one of the trial will be complete later this year.
RACV General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus, said, “We want to get a clear understanding for our members of the potential safety improvements offered by automated vehicles; how the technology works and what the implications are for the community.”