New South Wales has begun staging a major trial of driverless cars on public roads. The trial, which began yesterday, will last until September and is being organised by toll company Transurban in conjunction with government agencies Transport NSW and Roads and Maritime Services.
Driverless cars from Mercedes-Benz, BMW, Audi, Hyundai, Lexus, Volvo and Tesla are expected to take part in the six-month trial.
Following the recent death of a pedestrian hit by a driverless car in Phoenix, Arizona (CDN, yesterday), the NSW Minister for Roads, Melinda Pavey, stressed that the NSW trials will involve only “level two” autonomous technology, which requires that a person have full control of the vehicle at all times.
“It will be a completely different trial here,” Pavey said. “There will drivers in the vehicle, it will be 100 per cent safe and their hands will be on the wheel.”
The trial will initially involve 120km of Transurban motorways in Sydney, from the Harbour Bridge to the M7.
Cars that can automatically brake and steer will be driven across the network of toll roads at different times, collecting data on everything from road sign positions and lane markings to variable speed signs.