Mission to SPACE completed: UITP’s automated vehicles project draws to a close
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
- 5 October 2021
The Future Mobility Lab is in charge of multiple initiatives of which five are active trials. These projects include first/last mile services from train stations to university campus/business parks, intra business park services, a shuttle link from car park to hospital, a shuttle link from a tram terminus through a high-traffic shared use zone, and regional shuttle services connecting age care facilities, community facilities and regional bus services. Two modified passenger cars with autonomous driving and V2X (vehicle to everything) systems are also being tested to gather feedback on connectivity and V2X systems.
Generally, the vehicles of the pilots have been operated on a closed circuit, they have interacted with mixed traffic on private estates, mixed traffic on public streets and shared paths for bicycles and pedestrians. The stops are station-based and the shuttles follow fixed routes, arrive on a frequency basis and are wheelchair accessible.
Future Mobility Lab is conducting trials to gain a better understanding of the risks and opportunities for autonomous vehicles. They believe AVs may contribute to creating a more efficient and people-centric public transport system while improving mobility options and safety.
The objective of these pilots is to inform the Department of Planning Transport and Infrastructure (DPTI) on how to best introduce AV platforms into the public transport system.
The total budget is around $20m AUD, of which $10,000,000 AUD was funded by the government. The rest of the funds was acquired through partner funding.
Through an amendment to the Motor Vehicles Act, South Australia is the first jurisdiction in the country to establish a regulatory framework to provide exemptions to conduct trials of AVs on road.
Some of the challenges faced so far are obtaining import approval and insurance as well as dealing with the community resistance on the shared path trial. Some of the technical issues have included problems with GPS, network connectivity and reliability of lidars (dust and reflection from water have especially caused issues).
No accidents or critical incidents occurred. However, there have been some technical issues which have required intervention or suspended service temporarily. In addition, some manual interventions to steer around some obstacles and to drive through signalised intersection with one platform have also been necessary. The systems need to be updated in order to manage driving through intersections. The reliability of the vehicles is mixed, all platform have had different issues. The average operational speed of the shuttles is 15 km/h. In order for AVs to be integrated successfully, there is a need to make the technology more reliable, to replace the chaperones with systems and make the fleet management more sophisticated.
Flinders University has been involved in the trials by doing survey work around the community acceptance of the AVs and their willingness to pay for such a service.
UITP's mission to SPACE has been completed!
The SPACE Final Conference will take place on 30 September.
Also known as flocking. A collection of (automated) vehicles that travel together, actively coordinated in formation. Platoons decrease the distances between vehicles using electronic, and possibly mechanical, coupling. Platooning allows many vehicles to accelerate or brake simultaneously.
High density environment with an efficient high capacity public transport system with good capillarity and high frequencies.
Medium density environment with a good public transport system with radial connections to the city center, but lower capillarity and frequencies. This setting includes suburban cities.
Small, isolated city with an own public transport system and <100K inhabitants.
Low-density environment, small cities and villages with poor public transport services mainly connecting the villages.
The SAE (Society of Automotive Engineers) levels define the level of vehicle autonomy, or in other words, how much human intervention is still needed for an automated vehicle to operate. Currently, five SAE levels have been defined: Level 0: Automated system issues warnings and may momentarily intervene but has no sustained vehicle control. Level 1 (hands on): Driver and automatic system share vehicle control. The driver must be ready to retake full control at any time. Level 2 (hands off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 3 (eyes off): The automated system takes full control of the vehicle (accelerating, braking, and steering). The driver must monitor the driving and be prepared to intervene immediately at any time if the automated system fails to respond properly. Level 4 (mind off): As level 3, but no driver attention is ever required for safety, e.g. the driver may safely go to sleep or leave the driver's seat. Level 5 (steering wheel optional): No human intervention is required at all. An example would be a robotic taxi.
Vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communication is the passing of information from a vehicle to any entity that may affect the vehicle, and vice versa.