VIC trial reveals long road ahead for autonomous vehicles

The trial has identified challenges for vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure providers and regulators, but also quick wins that can be delivered.A recently completed autonomous vehicle trial in Victoria has identified challenges for vehicle manufacturers, infrastructure providers and regulators, but also quick wins that can be delivered in the lead up to
their introduction.

The trial is a partnership between the Victorian Government, Transurban, VicRoads and the RACV investigating how to ready state roads, regulations and the community for the introduction of automated vehicles.

During the first phase of the two-year trial, 12 partially automated cars travelled nearly 5,000 kilometres along sections of Melbourne’s Monash-CityLink-Tullamarine corridor, examining how the vehicles interacted with the motorway environment.

According to a statement from Transurban, the research revealed that while it may be some time before fully automated cars are a reality on the state’s roads, changes to line markings and types and position of speed limit signage will be a step in the right direction.

“These trials are the first step to help get Victoria’s roads and the community ready for more automated technology and we’re starting the process by making changes where we can by ensuring speed signs in the new West Gate Tunnel are compatible with this technology,” Transurban Group Executive Victoria and Strategy Wes Ballantine said in the statement.

The trial also included a community research program which investigated community awareness and attitudes towards automated vehicles.

It found there was a need to educate drivers about the limitations of vehicles with partial automation features on the road today to ensure drivers of these vehicles do not overestimate their capabilities while the technology is evolving.

The research also found that although 84 per cent of participants were keen to have automated technology in their cars, a lack of trust in a computer’s ability to drive safely remains a barrier.

The statement said the trial will now continue to test vehicles with more advanced automation features.


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