Road Trials Of Semi-Automated Volvo S90s A Success
The Australian Road Research Board (ARBB), the country's independent road research agency, said that the first trials of the semi-autonomous Volvo S90s was a success.
The trials of the semi-automated vehicles driving on its own in live traffic have just been competed on Melbourne's EastLink. The trial, which is part of an 18-month research project, aims to enable Victorian drivers to safely commute on the tollway even with their hands off the wheel by 2018.
The autonomous cars will also begin travelling on CityLink and the Monash and Tullamarine freeways in Victoria. The trial is expected to monitor how the cars interact with real-life road conditions such as overhead lane signals, electronic speed signs and line markings.
The trial is expected to take up two years and will be managed by tolling company Transurban, CityLink's owner.
The research project being led by ARBB received AU$578,000 funding from the VicRoads Intelligent Transport System Grants Program. EastLink and LaTrobe University also provide support to the research project.
The first stage in the project's three stages focused on the development of a "first of a kind" classification system for assessing Australian roads based on the level of automated vehicle features they support.
The second stage of the research project, which is planned to begin on the second half of 2017, will see the testing of a range of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems technologies that allow communication between vehicles and road infrastructure.
A small number of semi-automated vehicles will be tested on EastLink with driverless technology on 2018, as the project moves forward to stage three.
"By the completion of the research project in 2018, it is expected that EastLink will support vehicle manufacturers activating the technology so commuters can safely enjoy hands-free driving, pending the necessary legislative changes being made," said ARBB in a statement.
The research board looks forward to the success of the project which it believes is a significant milestone in the attempt to have Australia recognized as a leader in driverless vehicle technology and a place where vehicle manufacturers can test and deploy their research technology.