On-road trials approved for automated vehicles

By Ashlea Witoslawski

Regional Victorian roads will be the first to experience new automated vehicle technology in an on-road trial approved by the Victorian Government.

Acting Premier Jacinta Allan recently announced $2.3million to Australian technology company Bosch as part of the connected and automated vehicle trial grants program, funded through the government’s $1.4billion ‘Towards Zero’ action plan.

Bosch was also granted the state’s first ADS permit for on-road testing of highly automated driving systems.

Focusing on road safety, rural and regional roads have been selected for testing due to the increased risks and safety concerns associated with these roads.

‘‘The tragic fact is that you’re five times as likely to be killed on a rural road than in the city,’’ Ms Allan said.

‘‘Regional and rural Victoria is a priority through this program because of the increased number of accidents and incidences on regional roads.’’

The testing will be conducted on roads that expose the automated vehicle to a range of different conditions, including traffic, weather and infrastructure.

Ms Allan said closed testing had already taken place in Victoria and conversations had started for rural locations for on-road testing.

‘‘There is obviously great distances that are available in terms of the road network to cover off, but it is about getting that experience in all conditions and VicRoads are working through the best location to identify that with Bosch and the TAC,’’ she said.

Bosch Australia president Gavin Smith said once the vehicle was on the road, there would be a number of factors tested.

‘‘Specifically what we’ll be testing and looking for is how our algorithms work with Australian infrastructure, so being able to read Australian road signs and also of course working with Australian wildlife and things like that,’’ he said.

Ms Allan said appropriate locations would be confirmed in the coming months.