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With human error contributing to more than 90 per cent of crashes, automated vehicles have enormous potential to reduce the road toll, and to help those with limited mobility travel more easily.
When it comes to transport automation, there’s still a lot more to discover. With the auto industry predicting we are just five to 10 years away from automated vehicles being on the market, Victoria’s road infrastructure must be ready.
In anticipation of the new technology, RACV is actively involved in a number of automated vehicle trials to help understand how road infrastructure and regulations must adapt, and to help prepare the community for driverless cars. Our program of activities gauge public attitudes to automated driving and how the changes will affect everyone’s life.
RACV is participating in a diverse range of automated technology trials to help us get a clear understanding of the potential safety improvements offered by automated vehicles; how the technology works and what the implications are for the community.
AIMES Test bed
Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES) is an exciting project to establish a living laboratory on the streets of Melbourne. The project has already trialled an autonomous vehicle in Carlton and is continuously rolling out other highly integrated transport technology which will help deliver safer, cleaner and more sustainable transport outcomes within complex urban environments.
This busy suburban area of 4.5 square kilometres in inner Melbourne, encompassing Carlton, Fitzroy and Collingwood is a perfect location to test a new generation of connected transport systems. The test bed includes a broad mix of roads ranging from busy arterials to small local streets and laneways.
The area is systematically being equipped with advanced sensors for measuring emissions and noise levels and communications infrastructure such as wireless devices on vehicles including our own breakdown fleet. Our growing cities will need these systems to manage their increasing traffic.
The test bed covers all modes of transport, collecting data on vehicles, cyclists, public transport, pedestrians and traffic infrastructure.
RACV is a participant at all levels of the project on the including the technical committee.
Transurban Automated Vehicle Trial
The Transurban trial on the Monash-Citylink-Tullamarine corridor uses vehicles with automated features that are already on the market, including the Volvo S90, Tesla Model S and Model X, BMW 540i and Mercedes E300.
RACV provided vehicle operators and motoring staff to the trial that sought to discover how autonomous features such as lane-keep assist, adaptive cruise control and traffic-sign recognition respond and interact with road abnormalities including tunnels, road works, congestion, electronic speed signs and varying line markings.
The trial findings will help shape road infrastructure, rules and regulations, and prepare the community for driverless cars.
The program also looks at community attitudes to automated driving and how it can be implemented, including whether motorways should have designated lanes for automated vehicles.
The whole trial program will take over two years to complete.
ConnectEast Automated Vehicle Trial
This trial tested cars equipped with automated driving features on Melbourne’s EastLink toll road. The aim was to test a wider range of vehicles on a more consistent and less congested driving environment than CityLink.
As part of this trial, EastLink is working in partnership with VicRoads, the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), La Trobe University and RACV to identify opportunities to improve the compatibility between the latest self-driving car technologies and freeway infrastructure.
This trial is the first of its kind to include its breadth of manufacturers, including BMW, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi and Tesla and Volvo. Toyota and VW are also coming on board.
La Trobe Autonobus trial
RACV is a partner in the La Trobe Autonobus trial at La Trobe University’s Bundoora campus in northern Melbourne.
The project focus is on showcasing and demonstrating the long-term operational and commercial benefits of AV technologies.
This is the first time such an automated shuttle has been usedin Victoria to address first and last mile connectivity requirements.
The shuttle is an Arma-4 model developed by NAVYA, designed to meet SAE level-4 standards and can operate in full autonomous mode on mapped routes. Initially the vehicle will be trialled along Science Drive at speeds of up to 30km/h, but this will be expanded to higher speed on longer routes.