It’s clear automated and connected vehicle technologies are no longer the stuff of science fiction. From adaptive cruise control to traffic jam assist, the number of partial automation features now available in newer vehicles is rapidly increasing.
Yet these technologies make up only a fraction of what is currently being researched and developed for the future. Vehicles that can drive themselves some, or even all of the time, are now the focus of intense research, and are approaching faster than many would imagine. It will now require significant upgrading of existing road infrastructure before wide deployment can occur.
So how can road agencies, with project pipelines stretching years into the future, ensure their extensive transport networks are ready for the change?
This is the core question panellists will tackle when they convene for a special session at the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads’ (TMR) 2018 Engineering Technology Forum in Brisbane this September.
CAVI: Preparing the department for a future of automated vehicles will bring together representatives from the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) to discuss how the department is preparing for the arrival of vehicles with automated capabilities as part of the department’s Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative (CAVI).
Dennis Walsh, General Manager for Land Transport Safety Branch, which manages CAVI, says the panel session will act as a microcosm for the kinds of issues the department will need to tackle before the arrival of automated vehicles and C-ITS.
“This is a great opportunity to bring people from all areas working in this space into a room, to examine where we are now, and where we need to be in five or 10 years’ time,” Mr. Walsh said.
“What we discuss in the session will give a good idea of the terrain we need to cover to reach our objectives.”
CAVI’s main objective is to help prepare for the arrival of new vehicle technologies (including cooperative and automated) with safety, mobility and environmental benefits on Queensland roads.
The initiative will incorporate four main components, including Australia’s largest pilot of cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS) technologies, and the testing of a small number of cooperative and highly automated vehicles on South East Queensland roads.
Both components will include a focus on customer perceptions and experiences with these types of vehicles, along with infrastructure readiness, driver/technology interaction and security/data management.
But testing the technology and associated infrastructure, said Mr. Walsh, is only half the picture.
“This emerging technology raises a host of questions regarding legal, ethical and regulatory frameworks, road design, traffic engineering, registration and licencing and mobility as a service,” he said.
“But it also provides an opportunity to consider how technology can improve safety on our road network, and reduce the incidence of crashes and serious injuries amongst all road users.
“Cooperative and automated vehicles (CAVs), that is vehicles that include an increased level of connectivity and automated driving capability, offer the potential to significantly reduce accidents due to human error, improve transport efficiency and productivity, and environmental outcomes.
“How technology will impact on each of these areas is still up for discussion, and that’s what is most exciting about this session.
“The future in this space is still very much unwritten, and we want to hear as many perspectives as possible.”
CAVI: Preparing the department for a future of automated vehicles is scheduled to take place on the opening day of the 2018 Engineering Technology Forum (18-20 September 2018) at the Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre. TMR panellists will include Dennis Walsh (General Manager, Land Transport Safety), Dr Miranda Blogg (Director, CAVI, Land Transport Safety) and Melissa Cummins (Director, Transport Regulation).
To find out more about the 2018 Engineering Technology Forum, or to register, please visit www.tmr.qld.gov.au/etforum.