The New South Wales government has welcomed the first passengers on its Driverless Smart Shuttle at Sydney Olympic Park, with the service set to officially start next week, marking stage two of the state's driverless trial. Through its Smart Innovation Centre -- a hub for the "collaborative" research and development of safe and efficient emerging transport technology -- the NSW government in August last year partnered with HMI Technologies, NRMA, Telstra, IAG, and the Sydney Olympic Park Authority to conduct a two-year trial of the shuttle. Legislation was passed alongside the formation of the hub to approve trials of automated vehicles. The hub has since added the University of Technology Sydney, to enable the NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight. The legislation allows government to partner with industry, researchers, and universities to be a testing ground for automated vehicles, with the trial touted as bringing driverless cars a step closer to reality in Australia.
Seven in 10 Australians trust autonomous vehicles to take over when they feel tired, bored, or physically and mentally incapable of driving manually, according to a study by the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI). More than 5,000 Australians aged 18 and over were surveyed by ADVI and its academic partners, including the University of New South Wales, through an 80-question survey designed to help guide research, marketing, and vehicle design efforts. According to ADVI's preliminary findings, 69 percent of survey respondents said they would rather a driverless car take the lead when driving was "boring or monotonous", and 60 percent said they would prefer an autonomous vehicle during traffic congestion. Participants said the most likely activity they would spend their time doing in driverless cars was observing scenery at 78 percent, followed by interacting with passengers on 76 percent, resting came in at 52 percent, and doing work-related activities polled at 36 percent. Almost half, 47 percent, of Australians surveyed felt self-driving vehicles would be safer than human drivers.
Autonomous cars will begin travelling on CityLink and the Monash and Tullamarine freeways in Victoria, Australia next year. Beginning in March, the trial will monitor how the cars interact with real-life road conditions such as overhead lane signals, electronic speed signs, and line markings. The cars will also be trialled in semi-autonomous mode with drivers inside and capable of taking the steering wheel if needed to prevent accidents. Australian government to continue focus on digital delivery in 2017 Australian ISPs to block piracy sites from the pocket of content owners TPG outbids MyRepublic to snag Singapore's fourth telco license NBN equity to cost government cash balance AU$2.1b annually by 2027 NBN equity to cost government cash balance AU$2.1b annually by 2027 The trial is expected to take up to two years and will be managed by tolling company Transurban, CityLink's owner. It's also expected that road users will need to wait at least 10 years before they can own a driverless car given the technology being tested is in its infancy.
South Australia may have gotten a head start with trials in 2015, but New South Wales (NSW) is also committing to a driverless car future. Automated cars without drivers could be on NSW roads within five years, the state's minister for transport, Andrew Constance, predicted at a summit on the future of transport in Sydney Monday. "We're going to have driverless cars on our streets, in our suburbs," he told reporters. In his opinion, the South Australian government may have "jumped the gun a little bit" with its initial road tests last year. To support its own rollout of driverless cars, the NSW State Government announced the creation of a Smart Innovation Centre in western Sydney.
Driverless vehicles could build a "gold mine" of personal data for private companies and would make it easier for them to target people as consumers, an Australian law professor has warned. Des Butler, of the Queensland University of Technology, said the privacy risks involved in driverless vehicles were a "sleeper issue" that regulators were yet to fully consider, even though car manufacturers say the technology could be on roads in Australia by 2020. "These vehicles will know where you like to frequent, which businesses, and may very well build a profile of you," Butler said. "People will go into these things not realising just how much data the vehicle will be generating about them and not knowing the extent to which the data can be used." On Thursday, the federal government formally launched a $55m bid to answer some of the questions that surround the nascent technology.