Sydney begins driverless car trials in August 2017
It's specifically designed to join other cars on the main roads.
The NSW Government has given the green light to driverless car trials in Sydney's Olympic Park, set to begin this month. In doing so, it's also paved the way for a wider range of autonomous vehicle tests around Australia.
The vehicles on trial in Sydney might be best described as shuttle buggies. Capable of reaching speeds of up to 50 kilometres per hour, and theoretically able to navigate their way along public roads, they'll be started off restricted to 10 kilometres per hour, and on pre-programmed closed road tracks. The tester and systems creator, HMI Technologies, has been running similar trials at Christchurch Airport since the start of 2017.
The Sydney trials, however, are specifically intended to help put autonomous vehicles on the roads next to human drivers and examine some of the challenges that might be involved. Once the initial closed track phase is finished, the shuttles will be moving to the main roads of Olympic Park's business area, where they'll be used as a shuttle service between the offices and car parks. Eventually, it seems likely that they'll also serve as shuttles between Olympic Park accommodation and events.
"We want to use the trial to help develop the systems that will enable automated vehicles to be connected to our infrastructure, like traffic lights and to our customers through their devices and applications," said Roads Minister Melinda Pavey.
The shuttles will come to a stop if something moves in front of them, and also constantly scan their surroundings for other hazards. David Verma, autonomous vehicles director at HMI, said the shuttles can follow their predetermined path to within a "pretty extraordinary" 20mm.
HMI chief technology officer, Ahmed Hikmet, speaking at the Christchurch trials, also previously said the the shuttle there could identify the vehicle's surroundings to within "a fraction of a millimeter." Last year the majority of Australians simply didn't trust driverless cars, but opinions are likely changing.
NRMA director Kyle Loads sees the advent of driverless car technology as a way of reducing the human cost of road travel.
"There'll literally be thousands of thousands of lives saved as a result of in the future people utilising autonomous vehicles" he said. With over 1,000 motorists dying on the roads per year in Australia, and an estimated 94% of crashes being the result of human error, the public rollout of autonomous vehicles is likely to start saving lives from day one.
The commencement of Australian tests is a significant step, because this trial is specifically intended to help get autonomous cars from the testing circuits to public roads, and because it opens up the possibility of other types of tests around the country.
While other nations are outlawing autonomous vehicles entirely, Australia seems to be going full speed ahead. Albeit only at 10 kilometres per hour to start with.
- Deadly distractions: Driver behaviour that’s too common on our roads
- Woolworths raises mobile plans by up to 25%, but you could be better off
- Car conundrum: 2 in 5 Australians can’t afford repairs
- Rental car rort: Hire car costs skyrocket 151% over the Easter long weekend
- 4 membership-based clubs you can join as a car owner or enthusiast
- Revved-up rates: More than half of Australian drivers facing car insurance hikes
- How much does car insurance cost for celebs? Let’s see
- Uber partners with insurtech KOBA: Side hustlers, take note
- 7 hidden costs of owning a car and how to avoid them
- Surge pricing: Aussie parents providing $20bn worth of free rides
- As lockdowns ease, car insurance costs will rise. But why?
- Bad behaviour behind the wheel: 3 in 5 Australians drive distracted
- Where’s Australia’s priciest fuel?
- Australian drivers spent $78 million on roadside call-out fees over 2 years
- Violation nation: Aussies spending $600 million per year on parking fines
- 4 ways parking fines can ruin your finances
- Back to the future: 45% of Australians would consider buying an electric car
- Car-ching: Ute and SUV drivers are spending an extra $4,500 each year
- Fast and furious: 73% of Aussies have fallen victim to a road rage incident
- Speed camera signs dropped: How it could hit you twice
- Road rage tips from car insurers
- Car owners beware: hail is on the way
- Is car insurance the new Netflix?
- Five million Aussie drivers left with bill for damages they didn’t cause
- Australian car insurers offer discounts amid coronavirus
- Aston Martin DBS Superleggera Volante Australian release date and price
- Drivers warned of urgent vehicle recall for “critical” faulty airbags
- Owning a car vs Uber vs GoGet 2019
- 30,000 Australians to get money back on add-on insurance
- Kangaroo collisions cost Australians $6 million in insurance excess
- TGIF… say car thieves
- Advanced Emergency Braking (AEB) systems to become obligatory in Australia?
- NSW to take Takata cars off the road
- Motorists should be able to choose their own repairer
- Teens hitching rides with drink drivers
- Airbag recall: 2.8 million airbags have been swapped in 1.9 million vehicles
- Sydney hail damage reaches nearly $700 million
- Fatalities on Australian roads down over 6% in 2018
- “Catastrophic” hailstorm in Sydney creates influx of insurance claims
- Move over speed cameras, text-and-drive cameras are coming to Sydney
- ‘Tis the season for car park collisions
- More than 300,000 NSW toll users will be eligible for car rego discounts in 2019
- Pay less for car insurance if you’re a good driver
- Most common type of car accidents revealed
- NSW parking inspectors can now hand out demerit points
- The ACT’s proposed CTP scheme would cover at-fault drivers
- Car insurance add-ons sold at the car-yard could become a thing of the past
- Australians’ cars are getting dinged up like crazy
- Money Hack: Go green and save on car rego
- New NSW road rule could cost you $448
- Safe driving tech being tested on Queensland roads
- Car thieves exploit naive car owners
- Airbag recall could affect car insurance
- Many Australian parents spend eight hours a week driving their kids around
- New laws in works for autonomous vehicles
- Victorians enjoying short-term rego
- RACQ sees a 7% increase in crashes involving animals
- Victorian speed cameras hit by computer virus
- Stop and give-way intersections most dangerous for cyclists
- Hands-free phone users more cautious at the wheel