In December, the National Transport Commission (NTC) released a research report into lessons learned from on-road trials of automated vehicles in Australia.
The report does not examine off-road trials in places like mining sites. Most of these trials have involved shuttle buses using safety drivers of Chaperones who can take back control of the vehicle if required.
The report examined 32 trials across Australia and concluded that:
- the technology was still a work in progress
- choice of location and management of risk is important
- good project management is required
- behaviour of other road users around automated vehicles is an issue
There were also a number of observations about how to handle:
- safety issues
- human operators and passengers
- data and reporting
- public acceptance
- infrastructure and road environment
The report recommends that future trials need clearer strategic objectives which would lead to better evaluation. It also suggests that Australia should:
- conduct more complex trials
- consider commercialisation in choosing what to trial
- look at a greater range of vehicles and applications
- consider trials without a human operator
- look at cross border trials
- evaluate public readiness for automated vehicles
The report also suggests that there should be an evaluation of overall readiness for automotive vehicles and in particular infrastructure readiness.
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