Automation continues its creep
WITH the prototype Tesla Semi truck being tested on the roads ahead of its 2019 release date, it's clear that driverless technology is closer than we think.
The truck was spotted in the US but driverless technology is being trialledright in our own backyards.
It might not be a truck right now but with large and small buses in the pipeline, who knows what the future holds?
"It's inevitable the future is moving that way," Ipswich Mayor Andrew Antoniolli said during the first demonstration of the futuristic shuttle, an EasyMile EZ10, at Springfield.
The electric self-driving shuttle operated between Springfield's Orion Lagoon along John Nugent Way to the University of Southern Queensland's Springfield campus from February 26 to March 3.
It was also trialled at another Southeast Queensland location.
"The thing about this new technology is it's safer than having a driver and that's the only time when this technology should be implemented, when it's safer than having a driver," Cr Antoniolli said.
"You have to remember drivers are influenced by physical things - their attention is distracted, they get tired, they might have had a few drinks, which slows their reaction time down.
"We're talking about something fully attentive, fully safe and will always be keeping other vehicles (safe)."
The EasyMile EZ10 was designed to cover short, pre-defined routes. It uses the latest technology to safely respond to environmental changes such as moving pedestrians, cyclists and other vehicles and can carry up to 12 people (six seats and six standing positions).
Economic Development and Digital City Committee chairman Cr Paul Tully said Ipswich had already installed electric car chargers on smart light poles and was about to start Australia's largest co-operative intelligent transport system program.
But Queensland isn't the only state testing out the technology - the Victorian Parliament recently passed historic legislation that allows driverless vehicles to be trialled across the state.
Under the changes to the Road Safety Act, VicRoads will be able to grant permits to individuals or organisations wanting to conduct on-road trials of automated vehicles.
Roads and Road Safety Minister Luke Donnellan said Victoria was at the forefront of autonomous vehicle technology.
"These changes will allowour best and brightest to continue to drive transport innovation," he said.
"Automated vehicles are the future of road safety - that's why we're investing in trials and giving researchers better access to Victorian roads."
Under the new laws, all driverless vehicle trials will require a human supervisor to monitor the vehicle from either inside or outside the vehicle.
Once it has been established a vehicle can drive safely, this condition may be removed to allow the vehicle to drive in automated mode in limited circumstances without a supervisor.