New South Wales’s Transport Minister, Andrew Constance, and NSW’s Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey, have announced the state’s first autonomous vehicle trial, which will pave the way for automated vehicles to operate legally on Australia’s public roads.
Lead by leading Australasian Intelligent Transport Systems provider HMI Technologies, the trial is a partnership with the NSW government, Telstra (telecoms), NRMA (National Roads and Motorists’ Association), IAG (Insurance Australia Group), and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority.
Taking place at Sydney’s Olympic Park, the public will get to experience short journeys aboard the automated ARMA smart shuttle after preliminary safety tests are complete. Supplied by the French autonomous vehicle developer Navya, the self-driving, fully electric vehicle carries up to 15 people and is programmed to navigate around the scenic grounds, venues and businesses at the Olympic Park.
The Sydney trial, the first in New South Wales, the most populous state in Australia, is one of three automated vehicle trials that HMI will lead. Planning is underway for trials at La Trobe University in Melbourne, Victoria, and Christchurch International Airport in New Zealand. Each trial will help to test legislation and the supporting infrastructure that are critical for the adoption of highly automated vehicles.
“The concept of automated vehicles seamlessly transporting people and goods, and addressing congestion, has captured the imagination of the public,” noted HMI’s CEO, Dean Zabrieszach. “They are no longer just a concept, however, while they are such a new technology, we are aiming to address outstanding questions. We have the expertise to fuse automated vehicles with intelligent transportation systems, artificial intelligence, location referencing and traffic control systems. Trials will encourage the revision of legislation, systems and infrastructure required to make these revolutionary vehicles and their entire eco-system an everyday reality.”
For Transport for NSW’s Smart Innovation Center, which selected HMI, this is an important project, as the center activates collaborative research examining emerging transport technologies. The Smart Innovation Center’s director, Evan Walker, explained, “We have been established to work with partners like HMI to trial innovative transport technology, in this case driverless vehicles. We know that this technology will improve things like the safety and efficiency of the transport system, and we want to do trials like this to understand how we can make the most of the technology here in NSW.”