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ACT trial for automated vehicles

Posted: 25 April 2018 3:43 am
Autonomous car being driven while on the phone shutterstock_450

Canberra drivers have been invited to test response times when re-taking control.

Canberra drivers are being invited to test self-driving cars, but it’s not the cars under scrutiny, rather the human behind the wheel. Unlike NSW's autonomous car pilot scheme, the ACT program aims to establish how quickly a driver can resume control of a vehicle after driving in automated mode.

Evaluating driverless car interactions

The ACT government commissioned the two-year study, having formed a partnership with a leading human-machine interaction specialist and pledging to invest $1.35 million over the next two years into an automated vehicle examination.

Seeing Machines, based in Canberra, will conduct the trial and their findings will go a long way into the understanding and development of autonomous vehicles. The company has won several industry awards and employs 200 Canberrans, pioneering driver-monitoring equipment and intelligent sensing algorithms.

Autonomous vehicles deliver many benefits

Entirely self-driving vehicles may be quite a way-off, IAG research says possibly decades into the future. But trials like this one will form the basis of driver-free technology. Automated vehicles could potentially bring a higher level of road safety, lower crash figures, less traffic and freedom for those who can’t drive.

Phase one and beyond

Phase one of the test, known as CAN Drive, will take place at the Sutton Road test track in Majura, Canberra. Seeing Machines want to learn how semi-automated vehicles affect driver behaviour. In particular, they will focus on the transitioning of control, as a driver enters into a semi-autonomous mode and then out of it.

Does this change cause a distraction to the driver? How safe is the transition period? Do drivers pay less attention when in an automated mode? The study aims to answer these questions and more. Phase two may roll out to public-roads, but it depends on the road laws for driverless cars.

The company plan to use hidden dashboard cameras that track and log a drivers head/eye movements. The software can even determine the driver’s point of vision.

“The data we collect in trials such as CAN Drive is critical to advancing safety of communities all around the world. Automated technologies are emerging across many transport sectors and it is Seeing Machines’ goal, through our driver monitoring platform, to help advance these developments with safety as the highest priority. The continued support of the ACT Government helps Seeing Machines sustain its leadership position as we develop our core technology to meet the needs of our partners, customers and stakeholders,” Seeing Machines chairperson Ken Kroeger said in a statement.

Insuring a driverless car?

Though driverless cars may not arrive on public roads for a good while yet, they present a challenge to the insurance industry. Until then, you can use our car insurance comparison to get the best deals on a car you actually drive.

In car news

Picture: Shutterstock

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