A new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed at the ITS World Congress in Melbourne is intended to aid collaboration on connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) between Australia and California in the USA.
ITS Australia, the Contra Costa Transportation Authority (CCTA), and GoMentum Station have entered into a MoU, with the goal of sharing and supporting each other’s endeavors to develop and deploy technologies, such as CAVs, that promote safer, more efficient and environmentally sustainable transportation.
The CCTA is responsible for planning, funding and delivering critical transportation infrastructure projects and programs in Contra Costa County, in the San Francisco metropolitan area of California. A former naval weapons base, GoMentum Station in Concord, California, is where the CCTA leads and facilitates a collaborative partnership among multiple automobile manufacturers; original equipment manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers; communications suppliers; technology companies; researchers and academia; and public agencies and other partners.
GoMentum is the USA’s largest secure testing facility for autonomous and connected vehicle technology. The secure 5,000 acre site features 20 miles (32km) of paved roadway space to innovate and test on varied terrain and recreate real-life scenarios in a safe and controlled environment. The CCTA expects that the innovative technology being explored at GoMentum will redefine the next generation of transportation, helping to reinvent the ways people will move over the next 25 years. The GoMentum Station’s unique and varied terrain and infrastructure allows for the latest developments in transportation technology to be safely tested in similar conditions found on public streets.
Commenting on the MoU, ITS Australia’s CEO, Susan Harris, said, “Through an open exchange of our findings, we hope to not only speed the process of making these new transportation technologies widely available, we hope to raise the profile of autonomous and connected vehicle technology around the globe.”
At the signing ceremony, the CCTA’s executive director, Randell (Randy) Iwasaki, commented, “Though Melbourne and the San Francisco Bay Area may be half-way around the world from one another, GoMentum Station and ITS Australia stand side-by-side in our efforts to facilitate the development of transportation technology that will save lives and transform the way we move through our world.”
In an exclusive interview with Traffic Technology Today, Iwasaki, a former director of the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) and internationally-recognized authority on ITS issues, said, “We’re signing an agreement with the country of Australia to make sure that when they start testing autonomous vehicles to make sure that we collaborate, rather than duplicate. So the idea is, if they’re going to test for example in wet weather, they can test skidding for us, as well as other aspects of the differences between our state and their country.
“The vehicles are going to have to run in all different climates, under all different conditions. We met with the country of Australia a couple of times. They’ve been over to see us, and so we’re going to sign this agreement.”