Car dealers in Ipswich, Queensland, as well as other local automotive companies are expected to have a first-hand account in witnessing how self-driving cars use automated technology.
The state government chose the suburb as the testing site in what will be the biggest experiment of self-driving technology in the country. The programme will tap 500 drivers for the test on south-east Queensland roads.
All vehicles that will take part in the programme will be retrofitted with cooperative intelligent transport systems (C-ITS), which would act as their cars’ safety mechanism in different scenarios, according to Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey.
The Government plans to determine how self-driving cars will adapt to existing traffic systems. It will begin the test involving highly automated and semi-automated cars on public roads in 2019 and will take place over a four-year period.
Even at this point, Ipswich officials expect that the technology will help improve road safety. Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said that self-driving cars could potentially contribute to fewer vehicular accidents.
Experts believe that reducing the maximum speed on some of Australia’s busiest roads could be beneficial. Other than improved safety, lowering the speed limit to 80km/h from 120km/h could also decrease pollution levels in the air.
But the poor performance of previous laws, such as the 24/7 speed limit for Melbourne’s Tullamarine Freeway, raises concerns on the idea’s viability. Other environmental groups said that reducing speed limits is just one part of the solution for addressing air concerns, since fewer cars on the road is a much better alternative. For now, those who are looking for more efficient and environmentally friendly car models visit dealers and online resources, such as iboettcher.com.au to learn about their options.
It is yet to be seen whether self-driving vehicles can be trusted on the road, especially during traffic jams. But the technology’s proponents hope the prospect of automated cars that obey and recognise speed limits will contribute to a safer driving experience for the public.