New Austroads roadmap to support automated heavy vehicles

Austroads has published a roadmap to support the introduction of automated heavy vehicles into regional and remote areas of Australia and New Zealand.

The report identifies opportunities and barriers for the future use of automated heavy vehicles and provides road managers, government and industry with direction for the development of facilities, procedures and regulations.

The project aimed to provide governments with enough information to enable them to: begin work on readying their networks for automated vehicles in remote areas; enable the freight industry to work towards a degree of automation and explore the options provided by new technology; identify opportunities for the use of automated vehicles in rural and remote areas; inform governments on technical and legal issues so they can act in a timely manner to build or adjust infrastructure, and create legal frameworks, that are suitable for automated freight vehicles.

The recommendations are based on the most suitable automated heavy vehicle operations in remote and regional areas, which were found to be automated highway driving and platooning.

The implementation roadmap covers technology, infrastructure (physical and digital) and policy opportunities in the short, medium and long term.

The report found that Australian and New Zealand roads in remote and regional areas are not ready for automated heavy vehicle  deployment, particularly in relation to pavement markings and standardisation of signs and road operations. Connectivity and precise positioning service is challenging in remote and regional areas and systems may need access to this technology.

Regulations, such as following distances and hands-free rules, will need to be reconsidered.  And the way the vehicles interact with other road users and road infrastructure needs to be thoroughly explored.

The roadmap will to help determine the extent of trials required before being ready for commercialisation and the regulatory and infrastructure supports required from the government.


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