Driverless cars are coming, and there are already around 120,000 vehicles on our roads that feature the latest crash avoidance and driver assist technology. So it’s important our roads and infrastructure can accommodate higher levels of automation in our vehicles, and that vehicle manufacturers understand the current gaps in technology in real-world scenarios. What we do now will help ensure that automated vehicles can keep us moving, make our lives easier and help move the road toll closer towards zero.
Arup supported the trial program Transurban conducted in partnership with the Victorian Governments on Connected and Automated Vehicles (CAVs) to make sure our road infrastructure is ready for the challenges and opportunities ahead.
46 trial sessions
6,500 driver observations
Automated vehicles already on our streets
If you’ve bought a new car in recent years, it can probably steer itself, read speed limits and control its own speed. These are known as ‘partial automation’ features and currently are intended for driver assistance only.
During the trials, 12 current model partially automated vehicles from six different manufacturers were tested on circuits of the Monash, CityLink and Tullamarine motorways. This was to observe how their automated features responded to aspects of the motorway environment such as line markings, exit ramps, toll points, speed signs and motorway art, as well as other vehicles and objects on the road.
Arup provided project management, planning and operational readiness advice to make sure all scenarios and logistical requirements were considered and tested. We were also responsible for collecting and processing footage and data collected from the trials.
Arup has a great record and international experience in CAV trials, including our role as consortium lead on the UK Autodrive project, as well as working alongside local authorities, leading technology and automotive businesses, and academic institutions. We’re excited to be working with Transurban on these critical, future-shaping trials. ”Yasmin Roper Civil Engineer
What did we find out?
The Victorian trials made some important findings that will help vehicle manufacturers and roads and infrastructure designers. While some were specific to individual vehicles, Transurban’s focus was to identify any issues that were common across multiple vehicles and warranted future changes to infrastructure. Some major on-road findings were:
Changes in line markings can create confusion for a partially automated vehicle
Electronic speed signs provide challenges for some vehicles
Certain roadside features, such as Melbourne’s CityLink Sound Tube, disrupt automated vehicles features like lane keeping and speed sign recognition
Trial vehicles didn’t create gaps to allow cars to merge due to limitations in their ‘vision’
Other objects on roads – including debris, stationary vehicles and roadworks equipment – weren’t always detected.
You can read the full findings and recommendations report at the Transurban microsite.
Following the successful completion of the trials in November 2017, Transurban invited Arup to run the entire design and delivery workstream for their NSW trial program. The trial focussed on the Sydney Orbital Network including the Lane Cove Tunnel, the Hills M2 Motorway, Westlink M7, the M5, Eastern Distributor, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Sydney Harbour tunnel.