South Australian Transport Minister learns about UK’s driverless car initiatives


South Australia’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Stephen Mullighan, has visited the UK Transport Research Laboratory’s (TRL) Smart Mobility Living Lab @ Greenwich, as part of a fact-finding mission to learn more about UK innovations in connected and automated vehicles (CAVs).

Like the UK, South Australia is looking to take a lead in connected and autonomous technology and become a testbed for companies looking to enter the Australian market. Earlier in 2016 it became the first Australian State to pass legislation to allow on-road testing of driverless cars, and is now looking toward the UK and initiatives like the Smart Mobility Living Lab as an example of best practice.

Mullighan and his supporting delegation were welcomed to the Living Lab by Rob Wallis, CEO of TRL, alongside representatives from the UK’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, and Living Lab partners Royal Borough of Greenwich, Oxbotica and Royal Sun Alliance.

Based in London’s Royal Borough of Greenwich, and supported by the UK government, the Smart Mobility Living Lab helps organizations bring solutions to market faster by enabling them to be trialled and validated in a real-life environment. Vehicle manufacturers, OEMs and technology organizations, such as Oxbotica, can use the ‘Living Lab’ to assist with research and development, concept testing and validation, launching new technology or services, and understanding how new technology is perceived in a real-world environment.

The minister was given presentations on several UK CAV projects, including GATEway, MOVE_UK and Atlas, followed by a live demonstration of Oxbotica’s Selenium autonomy software. Mullighan and his delegation watched as the software, which will be used in the GATEway vehicle trials in Greenwich starting later this year, navigated Oxbotica’s purpose built Geni concept vehicle around the Greenwich Peninsula. They were also given a chance to ride on the vehicle, which has now successfully completed 62 miles (100km) of autonomous driving in Greenwich.

“It was fantastic to see such a collection of very credible companies coming together in an open and creative, real-life way,” commented Mullighan. “It’s clear the UK is really opening up its markets for such innovative programs of research, and through initiatives like the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab, is encouraging a level of cross-sector collaboration that is truly inspirational.”

TRL is already working to improve global collaboration on connected and automated research projects, and is a member of the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI).

TRL CEO Wallis was keen to highlight this commitment, and added, “It’s great to see international enthusiasm for the driverless vehicle projects taking place in the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab. The fact that other countries are looking to the UK for guidance demonstrates the pivotal role the country now plays in this innovative and globally disrupting marketplace. TRL has already committed to establishing deeper links between the UK and Australian vehicle initiatives; I was delighted to see this intent strongly welcomed by Stephen and the Australian delegation today.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).