Australian state infrastructure advisor Infrastructure Victoria has published a suite of new research as it develops its advice to the Victorian Government on the infrastructure required to support automated vehicles.
The evidence base – the result of months of research – will also be used to assess the state’s infrastructure needs for zero emissions vehicles, and covers areas such as transport, energy and ICT (information and communications technology).
“We know that driverless and zero emissions vehicles could fundamentally reshape our cities, towns, neighbourhoods and streets,” said Infrastructure Victoria Chief Executive Michel Masson.
“What we can see through this evidence base is that there are a range of impacts from driverless and zero emissions vehicles across the whole spectrum of Victorian infrastructure, from energy, to land use, to our transport networks.”
The research shows that Victoria’s transport, energy and ICT infrastructure is well placed to accommodate both automated and zero emissions vehicles, but that while the new technology could deliver significant benefits for the state, it will also pose challenges.
“There is a lot of hype around driverless and zero emissions vehicles and our research shows that while the they could deliver profound benefits, they also present challenges that need to be addressed,” said Dr Allison Stewart, the organisation’s Automated and Zero Emissions Vehicles Advice Project Director.
“For instance we found that driverless vehicles could dramatically reduce road accidents and make road networks more efficient, even when they are mixed on the roads with regular cars.
“On the other hand, our energy modelling found that if we were to move to 100% battery electric powered vehicles tomorrow, our overall energy consumption could increase by as much as 56%.
“Our advice to government will focus on how best to manage the broad range of impacts these new technologies could have in order to maximise their potential,” Dr Stewart said.
The body is now seeking formal submissions in response to its research to inform its final advice to government, which will be delivered in October.