Driverless cars could require drastic changes to the road regulations of any country they’re allowed in, from car wraps in Brisbane to roadwork in Sydney. The New South Wales government has decided to run tests with cooperation from a motorway operation company, Transurban, via a new, multi-year trial programme involving several of the most advance semi-autonomous vehicles models currently available.
The NSW Government and Transurban both announced this partnership mere hours following the news from the US about an Uber development vehicle that got caught in a fatal car accident, the first instance of a driverless car getting involved in a roadway incident in the globe, which has made headlines as people acknowledge the difficulties of autonomous vehicles.
Melinda Parsley, NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, emphasized that the new trials would only involve what’s considered level 2 autonomous tech, which still has a person in full control of the vehicle. She says that it will be completely different in NSW, in a statement made near the M2 motorway. She says that the vehicles will have drivers with their hands on the wheel, and that it would be safe, with people in control of the cars at all times.
Pavey says that the fatal incident in Arizona will be analysed carefully by the NSW Government. She admits that a lot of people will doubt the automation of vehicles, from business that handle car wraps in Brisbane to government officials across the world, which she considers the future. She says that people shouldn’t be afraid of computers being better at something than humans, but that they need faith in the process.
The trial would evaluate NSW’s road network, studying 120 km of Transurban motorways on the Sydney network, from the Harbour Bridge all the way to the M7. Vehicles that can automatically steer and brake, acquired from Audi, BMW, Hyundai, Lexus, Mercedes-Benz, Tesla and Volvo, will be driven throughout the test roads at different times of day, collecting road data like road sign placement, road marking and variable speed signs in order to learn.
These models have the latest Driver Assist and Crash Avoidance tech, the very same tech implemented in 120,000 vehicles already driving around in NSW.
Pavey says that it’s part of a process to understand how automated vehicles will behave, and to prepare people for what some are saying is the biggest change to cars since their invention.