There’s been a lot of talk about driverless cars around this year; however things are becoming slightly more real now that The State Government has unveiled the location for self-driving and smart cars to be tested on Australian roads.
Ipswich Queensland, will act as a test site where 500 motorists will be part of the testing project, in the largest trial to date for this emerging technology in Australia.
Safety warnings will be transmitted to the drivers via cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) which will be retrofitted into the vehicles.
Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the devices would alert motorists to a range of conditions.
“Let’s say there’s a red light runner coming through from another direction, it may well give you that sort of a warning, or pedestrians coming out in front of you,” he said.
“These cars will be highly intelligent, receiving and picking up data and giving that to you as a driver, so you’re in control.”
The four-year trial will test both highly automated and semi-automated vehicles on public roads to see how technology connects with existing traffic systems.
The Queensland Government is partnering with German multinational Bosch to test the company’s multi-million-dollar self-driving vehicle, which is the first of its kind to be developed in Australia.
The Bosch car is designed to navigate roads with or without driver input.
Mark Jackman from Bosch Australia said it was important to test the autonomous car on real roads.
“First we have to drive it off the road and then, as the car gradually increases in its confidence and its capability, we’ll be bringing it onto public roads in a controlled environment with trained drivers,” he said.
“We’ll be using that technology to say ‘how do the people react with the car, how does the car react with the environment and how does the car react with other vehicles on the road’?
“We believe automated driving will come but automated will come in steps.”
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said he believed the technology had the potential to reduce traffic crashes.
“This is going to decrease the road toll and this is going to give us more things that’ll help the driver take control of the car,” he said.
“We’re going to trial it, so we’ll be the guinea pigs to see how the driverless cars are going to work.”
On road testing begins in 2019.