In a purposeful trial, we will test and understand how AV's operate and consider their likely impacts on WA. Our trial aims are to:
- Increase understanding about the potential impacts and opportunities from the advent of automated vehicle technology.
- Give Australian's the chance to see automated vehicle technology, and eventually use and experience it.
- Further help Australia prepare a road map for changes to support and safely transition to automated vehicle technology.
The trial involves a number of stages, with each stage designed to test and evaluate autonomous vehicle technology in a variety of settings and scenes. Each stage involved increasing levels of complexity, then finally interactions with road users.
Stage 1: Closed stage
In the first stage of our trial, vehicle commissioning and the closed testing stage were undertaken in April 2016 on a private track. With no pre-existing guidelines in place, RAC worked hands-on with local specialist technicians and Navya to develop an extensive test plan. We were able to use this stage to observe and record the shuttle's behaviour in autonomous mode.
A comprehensive course was established with merge lanes, a roundabout, a number of obstacles, a give way and controlled stops. The tests were conducted in different conditions, situations and scenarios - either naturally occurring or simulated.
Stage 2: Closed stage on public roads
During this stage, the shuttle was taken on open roads to commission and verify the route. Operating RAC Intellibus® on public roads was a complicated process, involving a number of critical steps such as selecting a route, gaining Special Permit approvals, operational road safety plans, risk assessment and delivery of a community communications campaign.
Stage 3: On public roads
The third and public stage officially began on 1st September 2016. The South Perth site comprises three phases where each phase includes increasingly complex traffic conditions. This includes increasing levels of interaction with different types of road users, traffic signs, traffic lights, right turn manoeuvres and traffic flows.
Stage three enables members of the public to visit the RAC Intellibus® Hub and experience a 30 minute ride on the shuttle along the South Perth foreshore.
What has made it a success?
RAC's Automated Vehicle Trial's continued success is attributed to the commitment of a great team.
"The RAC team was completely committed and the same can be said for (project partners) the State Government and the City of South Perth, who really jumped on board with us", says Anne Still, RAC General Manager of Public Policy who leads the trial.
During each ride our Chaperones complete reports which describe each journey, including any mechanical or software issues and unexpected traffic interactions.
RAC also invites each participant to provide feedback on their experience in pre and post ride surveys. These reports, surveys and results provide the trial delivery team with invaluable information on the views and perceptions of Western Australians when it comes to automated vehicles.
How can I get involved?
If you would like to stay up to date with RAC's Automated Vehicle Trial please join our mailing list.
If you would like to participate in our Trial and see the possibilities of the future of transport, please register below.