QUT pushes ahead on study to prepare for driverless cars

Andrew Munro 15 November 2017

shutterstock driverless car road 738x410

What should the inside of a driverless car look like?

The Queensland University of Technology (QUT) centre for Accident Research and Road Safety has received a $400,000 grant to help promote driverless cars in Australia and whittle away some of the less clear obstacles that lie between the technology and the actual use of autonomous vehicles.

In this case, the research will focus on how two people in driverless cars might react to each other on the roads, or how a driver might handle autonomous vehicles around them.

"We hope to revolutionise the cooperative principles that are central to humans interacting with automated systems and vehicles," deputy director of QUT road safety research centre Andry Rakotonirainy said in a statement.

"Our project will assist the research community, vehicle manufacturers, the automation industry and policy makers as it seeks to understand the context-dependent interactions between two humans in a car which will then inform future interfaces between automated cars and human road users," Rakotonirainy said.

It's often overshadowed by other considerations, but it's a pressing concern.

Can you control the headlights and honk the horn in a driverless car?

And will you even need to?

Communication between road users is an integral part of driving, and throwing autonomous vehicles into the mix will almost certainly have unpredictable results. This study aims to find out what will happen, and what to expect. This in turn will influence future car designs.

The answers to these questions will inform best practice in future car designs for the between-stage of autonomous vehicles alongside driven cars as well as stages beyond this.

"The long-term benefits include improved road safety, trust, mobility and quality of life as well as reducing the immense social and economic cost of transport in Australia, estimated to be $47 billion," said Rakotonirainy.

The answers uncovered by this QUT research will also touch on the big changes coming to car insurance as driverless cars are wheeled out across Australia.

It's thought that this transition period will start happening as soon as 2021, so time is running out to nail down these questions and find out what to expect when pedestrians, cyclists and other drivers start sharing the road with fully autonomous vehicles.

In car news

Picture: Shutterstock

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