The Australian government is positioning the country for safer roads through collaboration on high-technology vehicle and road systems, made possible by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US State of Michigan.
ITS Australia also participated in the MOU, which was signed by Andrew Broad, Assistant Minister to Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister, and Kirk Steudle, director of the Michigan Department of Transport (MDOT). The signing took place at the University of Melbourne which has played a central role in advancing the transport technology agreement between the governments of Australia and Michigan, primarily through AIMES (Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem), of which ITS Australia is an active supporter.
Activities in Michigan and Australia are leading the development of intelligent transport technology and the MOU supports links between AIMES, home to a live testbed on Melbourne city streets, and Michigan’s Mcity and American Center for Mobility off-road facilities that will be highly beneficial in progressing advancement in this field.
ITS Australia and Austroads, along with the University of Melbourne, are included in the MOU as key to supporting the bilateral cooperation on connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) technologies occurring across the Australian and Michigan ITS communities. Specific areas for possible cooperation identified within the MOU include:
• Sharing scientific, technological, regulatory and policy data; co-hosting meetings, workshops and conferences between Michigan and Australia as well as other countries;
• Sharing best practices in skilled trades and workforce development programs;
• Developing new programs to address emerging technology needs;
• The creation of a joint task force to provide advice on strengthening Michigan and Australian technology clusters and connecting key coordinating bodies.
“Our research institutions and industries can establish better links with international counterparts under this MOU, offering future commercial opportunities that could result in economic benefits for Australia,” explained Broad. “Michigan is an important partner as a long-standing global center of automotive industry innovation. Accelerating the development of crash-avoiding technologies through collaboration is a particular potential benefit of this MOU.”
Michigan’s Governor, Rick Snyder, commented, “This agreement establishes a great partnership through which we will share research and knowledge between Michigan and Australia in the development and deployment of intelligent vehicle transportation to ensure technology and safety go hand-in-hand with progress.
“Ensuring the safety of connected and autonomous vehicles is paramount, and that will require a truly global approach to testing and validating the technology, as well as addressing the regulatory and policy environment those efforts operate in. Michigan is proud to work alongside the world’s transportation leaders to address these challenges and opportunities to help bring connected and autonomous vehicles to roadways around the globe.”
At the signing of the MOU, ITS Australia’s president, Dean Zabrieszach, said, “We are grateful for the opportunity this MOU presents to the Australian ITS industry, in particular the chance to for us to create and shape global best practice for the future of intelligent transport, connected and automated vehicles.”