The Victorian government has teamed up with Johnson Controls and Braums to trial the use of touchless pedestrian crossings sensors in Melbourne to minimise transmission of the coronavirus. The automated pedestrian crossing, developed by Johnson Controls, uses infrared technology so pedestrians do not have to physically push the button. Instead, they simply wave their hand in front of the button, which will trigger the signalised crossing. The push-button, however, will continue to exist for the visually impaired. The technology is initially being trialled in front of Melbourne's Royal Women's Hospital and the Royal Melbourne Hospital.
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.
Slowly but surely, Australia is becoming a rideshare-friendly nation, but not every state is doing it Uber's way. On Tuesday, the South Australian government announced that from July 1, it would become the latest region to legalise services such as UberX that let people drive their own cars to take customers from A to B. It follows the legalisation of ridesharing in 2015 by the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) and New South Wales (NSW) governments. Like NSW, the government will be offering an assistance package to ease the transition for taxi drivers. South Australians will presumably help pay for the scheme, handing over a levy of A 1 per ride in taxis and rideshare services. "Our reforms deliver a genuine level playing field between taxis, chauffeur vehicles and new entrants like Uber," State Premier Jay Weatherill said in the statement.
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.
MONTREAL - Two homicide victims found in western Canada are the son of a high-ranking Australian police official and the young man's American girlfriend, Canadian police said. The bodies of Lucas Robertson Fowler, a 23-year-old Sydney native, and Chynna Noelle Deese, 24, from North Carolina, were discovered Monday along a remote stretch of highway in northern British Columbia province, the police said in a statement late Friday. A blue Chevrolet minivan registered in neighboring Alberta province was found on the side of the road, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) said, without confirming whether the van belonged to the couple. Fowler had settled in British Columbia, local news media said, but the pair had been traveling extensively. Deese's family told U.S. media that the couple had embarked on a road trip through Canada.