The University of Melbourne’s Dr Peter Sweatman has been recognised for his leading role in the advancement of Australian transport technology, receiving Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) Australia’s highest honour, the Max Lay Lifetime Achievement Award.
Throughout his 30-year career, Dr Sweatman has driven global innovation in transportation research and the application of R&D. He has emerged as an authoritative and respected international voice on connected and automated vehicles, safety, ITS, transportation research and education, and freight technology and policy.
“I am honoured to accept this prestigious award from ITS Australia,” said Dr Sweatman. “Smart vehicles and infrastructure are not enough – we need a mobility system with a soul. I’ve had the privilege to contribute to the current virtuous ITS cycle in the United States and Australia, on the back of pioneers like Max Lay.”
Dr Sweatman’s career has traversed Europe and Asia-Pacific as well as the United States. In the United States, Dr Sweatman was a cofounding principal of CAVita LLC – a trusted connected and automated vehicle ecosystem partner for government, industry and academia – which gave him broad experience in transport system R&D in the US.
Dr Sweatman is also the former director of the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute (UMTRI) (2004 – 2015), and the founder and former director of the Michigan Mobility Transformation Center (MTC) (2013 – 2016). MTC opened the unique test facility Mcity in July 2015 and has set the bar for safe, off-roadway testing of automated vehicles.
“For three decades, Peter has been a great Australian ambassador for the ITS industry”, said Dean Zabrieszach, ITS Australia president (left). “He has dedicated his professional career to advancing transportation research and innovation around the globe and, in doing so, has become widely recognised as a leader in our industry, particularly in connected and automated vehicles. Peter is a most deserving recipient of the Max Lay Award. I congratulate him on behalf of ITS Australia.”
In 2020, Dr Sweatman relocated from the United States to his native Australia, joining the University of Melbourne as International Enterprise Professor with the AIMES testbed. AIMES, the Australian Integrated Multimodal Ecosystem, is a world-first multimodal testing ecosystem which covers 6km2 and over 100kms of local and arterial roads and freeways.
“Peter has been a leading researcher and innovator in the transport sector for decades, both in Australia and America. Peter’s contribution to transport operations, and especially smart technology solutions to improve safety and mobility for the community, has been exemplary,” said Brian Negus (right), ambassador, ITS Australia and chairman, CICA Group.
“We are fortunate to have Peter’s significant expertise and experience back in Australia, and we will undoubtedly see benefits from his contribution to home-grown innovation projects, like the Melbourne University AIMES ecosystem.”
Dr Sweatman also has a lead role in the MAX: Michigan Australia Exchange in Mobility, a partnership between the State of Michigan and the Australian Government to enhance cooperation between respective government bodies, knowledge-based institutions, clusters, and businesses in all areas of future transport research, technology, entrepreneurship and innovation.
Dr Sweatman is a past chairman of the board of ITS America and also served as founding chair of the ITS America Leadership Circle. He served on the USDOT’s ITS Advisory Committee, as well as several roles with the Society of Automotive Engineers. At the U.S. Transportation Research Board, he chaired the recent EU-US Symposium Towards Road Transport Automation and served on the TRB Committee on National Research Frameworks: Application to Transportation. In 2017, Dr Sweatman was inducted to the ITS America Hall of Fame.
In Australia, Dr Sweatman founded Roaduser Systems Pty Ltd, a successful freight vehicle technology business implementing research for the benefit of both the private and public sectors, including resource production, manufacturing industry, road freight transport, vehicle manufacture, highway infrastructure and maintenance and road transport policy development.
Dr Sweatman’s achievements are widely recognised. He was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering in 1997. He was awarded a Centenary Medal in 2002 by the Prime Minister of Australia – For Service to Australian Society in Transportation Engineering. He served as Chair, Australian Road Transport Suppliers’ Association and is a Life Member of ARTSA. He conducted numerous heavy truck productivity and safety projects in Australia and around the world and chaired the OECD’s DIVINE Programme examining technical, economic and policy aspects of heavy vehicles’ impacts on the infrastructure (roads and bridges).
The Max Lay Award is named in honour of Dr Maxwell Lay (AM), an Australian pioneer and ITS researcher, engineer, project implementer and passionate advocate for the advancement of ITS.