A new Australian Government authority will manage the integration of driverless vehicles, projected to be worth $16 billion to the economy by 2025, with a coordinated and supportive federal approach.


Standing beside a driverless vehicle, Professor Majid Sarvi, Director of the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES),
also serves as Chair in Transport Engineering and Professor Transport for Smart Cities at the University of Melbourne.
He is an expert in connected multimodal transport network modeling and analysis. (Photo courtesy University of Melbourne)



The government is opening an A$9.7 million Office of Future Transport Technologies, Michael McCormack, deputy prime minister and minister for infrastructure, transport and regional development, said October 4 at a Roads Australia event in Sydney.


"Automated vehicles are on the verge of becoming commercially available here," said McCormack, "and the Australian Government is taking proactive steps to manage the associated challenges and opportunities within that evolving and future transport landscape."


This week in Australia, a self-driving car will take to the public roads. German multinational Bosch developed the vehicle at its Australian plant in a joint venture with the government of the state of Victoria, which invested $1.2 million in the project.


Built within a Tesla Model S shell, this autonomous car carries six radars, six LiDAR, built to spin 360 degrees, high resolution GPS, and a stereo video camera. One of only five worldwide built by the Bosch group, the car still needs someone behind the wheel, but it is designed to navigate roads with or without driver input.


“Getting Australians home sooner and safer is a core focus of our government and the emergence of automated vehicles represents a significant opportunity to realise safety and productivity benefits while supporting Australian industry and innovation,” McCormack said.


“While representing an emerging business opportunity for the national economy, these technologies also have great potential to reduce the $27 billion cost of road crashes in Australia each year," he said.


McCormack says the Office of Future Transport Technologies will enable the Australian Government to work with industry and state and territory governments to ensure Australia is ready for self-driving vehicles.


“I expect the Office to collaborate across governments to ensure automated vehicles are safe, to consider future infrastructure needs, to make sure cyber security safeguards are in place, and to support Australian businesses in taking advantage of new commercial opportunities," the minister said.


New South Wales Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance is ready to collaborate, saying, “Technology is rapidly changing the way people move around Sydney, driverless Metro trains will start carrying customers next year and driverless cars are already being tested on NSW roads."


Earlier this month, the Australian Government signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US State of Michigan, a global center of automotive industry innovation, to work together on high tech vehicle and road systems.


The University of Melbourne facilitated the Australia-Michigan agreement through the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES). The MOU supports links between AIMES, a live test bed on Melbourne city streets, and Michigan's Mcity and American Center for Mobility off-road facilities.


AIMES is a network of smart sensors designed to connect all parts of the transport environment within a section of Melbourne streets. The focus is on multimodal transport: connected vehicles, connected public transport, connected pedestrians and cyclists, and smart public transport stations.


On September 5, Cubic Transportation Systems and Transport for New South Wales, a private company, signed a contract with the city of Sydney for an Intelligent Congestion Management Program, intended to enhance Sydney’s ability to manage roads and public transportion for its of 4.5 million residents.


This is the first contract anywhere in the world for Cubic’s next-generation, fully multimodal Transport Management Platform.


Under the agreement, by 2020, the New South Wales’ Transport Management Centre expects to use real-time data and predictive analytics to allow operators to predict 30 minutes into the future and act in five minutes.


Matt Cole, president of Cubic Transportation Systems, said the "landmark project" would position Sydney as "a global leader in multimodal transport management operations."


The new Office of Future Transport Technologies got a big welcome from a consortium of 44 Australian industry, government, and research partners, known as iMOVE CRC, a national intelligent transport research and development center.


Says iMOVE Australia Managing Director Ian Christensen, "Australia stands to benefit from the introduction of new transport technologies in many ways. Safer transport systems, less congestion and convenient travel options are all within our reach if we plan and coordinate our efforts effectively."




By Sunny Lewis

Environment News Service (ENS)


October 4, 2018