An international agreement has been signed between the Queensland Government and French collaborative research centre VEDECOM to provide the state’s first automated vehicle in 2019.
It will play a part in Queensland’s on-road testing of the automated vehicle technology as part of the Department of Transport and Main Roads’(TMR) Cooperative and Highly Automated Driving (CHAD) pilot.
The vehicle is classified as a Society of Automotive Engineers Level Four, meaning it does not require the driver to take action while it is driving but still allows for manual control if needed.
It will also function as a cooperative automated vehicle (CAV), allowing it to connect to other vehicles, infrastructure and road operations systems to share safety related messages and warnings.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the Renault ZOE EV will be the fourth vehicle prototype built by VEDECOM and will help test automated vehicle safety across five areas; roads, roadsides, vehicles, road users and speeds.
“We’re doing this testing so we will be ready when vehicles with these capabilities are widely available for Queensland road users,” Mr Bailey said.
“Preparation is key. We must ensure our road network, infrastructure, legislation, regulation and licencing processes are aligned to support to integrate automated vehicles with our transport network.”
“For Queenslanders, these rapidly developing vehicle technologies have the potential to significantly reduce crashes and crash-related gridlock, as well as reducing emissions and fuel use.”
The Queensland Government has also partnered with the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and iMOVE Cooperative Research Centre to explore the impacts automated vehicles can have on safety.
iMOVE Australia Managing Director Ian Christensen said urgent improvements to transport systems were needed to reduce congestion, accidents and emissions.
“We are excited by the opportunities connected vehicle technologies offer,” Mr Christensen said.
“iMOVE is proud to work with TMR and QUT to take this important step. We are keen to prepare for the safe introduction of CAVs into our networks.”
QUT Professor Andry Rakotonirainy said the pilot project would help to develop new methods of testing how valid automated vehicles would be on Queensland roads and ensure safe interaction with road uses and road infrastructure.
“Automated vehicles will disrupt our approach to mobility, as smartphones did to communication. CAVs are an opportunity to increase mobility access for all, while improving road safety and congestion,” Prof Rakotonirainy said.
The CHAD pilot is part of the Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative project, which also includes Australia’s largest trial of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems technologies and the benefits for pedestrians, cyclists and motorcycle riders.