The government of Victoria today announced that it has invested AU$1.2 million in a partnership with Bosch, VicRoads and the state’s Transport Accident Commission to build the first self-driving vehicle developed in Australia.
Designed to navigate roads with or without input from a human driver, the vehicle includes technology to detect and avoid hazards such as cyclists, pedestrians and other vehicles.
Sensors and cameras built into the new vehicle will allow it to build a complete picture of what’s happening around it on the road, helping it to navigate safely.
The government will carry out trials of the new vehicle to understand how motorists use driverless vehicles. The trials will also help it develop the regulations and infrastructure necessary to support the introduction of other autonomous vehicles onto Victoria’s roads.
The state’s traffic management experts and urban planners will also use the trials to gain a better understanding of the work required to reconfigure road networks and traffic signals to boost safety and improve traffic flows.
“This self-driving car is at the forefront of automated vehicle technology and it’s been developed right here in Melbourne by local engineers,” said Luke Donnellan, Victorian Minister for Roads and Road Safety, during an inspection of the new self-driving vehicle.
The government believes that self-driving vehicles have the potential to help it achieve its Towards Zero vision – a future free of deaths and serious injuries on the state’s roads.
It sees the introduction of highly-automated vehicles as an important step in reducing the trauma caused by crashes – 90% of which are attributable to human error.
“By removing human error from the equation, self-driving vehicles will play a critical role in reducing deaths and serious injuries on Victorian roads,” said Donnellan.
The self-driving car, developed over the last 12 months at Bosch’s Australian headquarters in Clayton, will be one of the centrepieces of next week’s World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems in Melbourne.
The state government is investing in the development of self-driving and highly-automated vehicle technologies, which it sees as critical to the future of manufacturing jobs in Victoria.