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First Autonomous Vehicle Trial in Victoria

6 June 2017

Key industry partners launch the first use case trial for autonomous vehicles in Australia

A consortium including leading commercial partners and technical experts such as HMI Technologies, La Trobe University, RACV (Royal Automobile Club of Victoria), ARRB (Australian Road Research Group) and Keolis Downer will conduct a trial of autonomous vehicles in Victoria to explore the use of driverless shuttles in the context of a university’s student mobility requirements.

This is the first time such a project has been launched as a proof of concept to address first and last mile connectivity requirements.
The project, which has been partly funded through a $375,000 Victorian Government Smarter Journeys Programme grant, will start in August 2017 and last for one year.

The project aims to explore, through a model deployment in real operating conditions, the use of autonomous vehicles to create a re-usable commercial framework to support development of the requisite regulation and/or legislation.

HMI Technologies is supplying a French built Navya 15-person shuttle for the duration of this trial. This vehicle is fully autonomous (level 4), has no steering wheel and is electrically powered.

CEO of HMI Technologies Pty Ltd Australia, Dean Zabrieszach, comments: “autonomous vehicles are coming, whether we are ready or not, so we are taking this initiative to ensure we understand the implications for the community and Governments. Many people believe we are years away from seeing these vehicles on our roads, but we disagree. Increasing levels of automated technology are being delivered, now so it’s important we understand what is required for autonomous vehicles to operate safely here.”

RACV General Manager Public Policy, Brian Negus said that: “it is important that we assess the benefits and risks of this new technology and that we share this knowledge with transport authorities and the community, so that regulations can be considered for the State from first-hand experience. Having the vehicle available to us, will allow partners to evaluate the community’s reaction to this technology and to assess the ways in which autonomous vehicles broaden our transport options”.

La Trobe University’s Melbourne Campus will be used to test the vehicle, first with a limited proof of concept test (away from other traffic) and then in a real operating environment on the campus. The vehicle will be using GPS coordinates and state of the art sensor technology for detecting people or obstacles on its path.

“The University is already on its way towards creating smart campuses that make it easier for students to use technology and enhance their education experience,” said La Trobe University Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Keith Nugent. “Our Centre for Technology Infusion will be coordinating the shuttle trials and have long been involved indeveloping technology that links businesses, enhances mobility and shapes smart cities of the future.”

Keolis Downer Head of Growth, Innovation and Partnerships, Jonathan Myers said: “As Australia’s largest private multimodal transport operator we are excited to contribute to developing smarter mobility solutions that will benefit communities. Autonomous vehicles are becoming an important part of the multimodal journey, and can help improve the passenger experience by providing an efficient solution for door to door journeys.”

Media contacts:

HMI – Dean Zabrieszach – 0409 144 647, 03 9077 9005

RACV – Bridget Moylan – 0468 325 420, 03 9790 2717

La Trobe University – Dylan May – 0407 125 909, 03 9479 5353

Keolis Downer – Segolene Deeley 0421 929 334 / Media line: 0410 473 719

About HMI:

HMI Technologies Pty Ltd is an Australian, headquartered in Melbourne, and New Zealand based company providing end to end Intelligent Transport Technologies and Systems solutions. HMI is pursuing the development of Autonomous Vehicles as a key initiative across Australasia. With its core business in the development and manufacturing of electronic road signage expanding across Australia, HMI is now looking to position itself “at the forefront of the transport technology revolution”, a revolution which will feature fully autonomous vehicles as part of our everyday life.

About RACV:

RACV is the prime Victorian provider of a wide range of member services relating to motoring, including emergency roadside assistance and insurance, and also home services, travel and accommodation, resorts and lifestyle, loyalty programs, and is the prime transport advocate in Victoria for improvements in road safety, road and public transport projects and services, and road user behaviour, vehicle safety and technology initiatives, transport mobility options, and sustainable transport.

About La Trobe University:

La Trobe University is an Australian, multi-campus, public research university with its flagship campus located in the Melbourne suburb of Bundoora. The University opened its doors in 1967 and has developed a distinctive ethos which joined ‘social engagement’ to the pursuit of academic excellence. Today, La Trobe University has grown to accommodate more than 30,000 students including more than 8,000 international students from over 90 countries.

La Trobe is globally recognised for its research strengths and The Centre for Technology Infusion (CTI) is an award winning Research and Innovation Centre which focuses on delivering technology based solutions in socially relevant application areas such as Logistics and Supply Chain, Smart