Wednesday, April 24, 2024

QUT to lead rural automated vehicles training centre

Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is set to lead the new ARC Industrial Transformation Training Centre for Automated Vehicles in Rural and Remote Regions, to be established with $5 million funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) with an additional $5.2 million from centre partners.

Led by Professor Sebastien Glaser and Professor Ronald Schroeter, from QUT’s Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q), the new centre brings together 20 researchers from five Australian universities to work in collaboration with 38 industry partners.

It will build skills and capability to test and deploy safe, socially acceptable, automated vehicles (AV) for rural, regional, and remote Australian public roads.

Professor Glaser said key industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, mining and defence face significant challenges of driver shortages, rising costs, long distances, rough roads, and environmental impacts.

“82% of Australia’s road network is in non-urban areas and these roads are vital for moving goods such as food from farm to consumers – transport accounts for about 27 per cent of the cost of fruit and grains,” Professor Glaser said.

“By focusing on the adoption of AVs within these areas, we can contribute towards improving the quality of life for their residents.

“The many challenges for large, automated vehicles in these areas are complex and include long distances, rough roads, wildlife, harsh weather, lack of connectivity, and unique scenarios.

“The centre will bring together technology providers, regulators, government and end users with world-leading interdisciplinary researchers to train a vastly upskilled workforce to create new human-AV systems trained in Safe System thinking.

“The outcomes will reduce transport costs, increase capacity, boost supply chain efficiency and resilience, improve road safety, and elevate Australian capability.”

Professor Schroeter said regional communities were typically left behind in transport and services innovation, with the majority of “robotaxi” research happening in urban centres.

Chief investigators from partner universities are:

Professor Thomas Braunl, Associate Professor Doina Olaru, Associate Professor Paul Roberts (The University of Western Australia); Dr Stewart Worrall, Dr Julie Stephany Berrio Perez, Dr Mao Shan, Professor Martin Tomitsch (The University of Sydney); Prof Saeid Nahavandi (Swinburne University), Dr Imali Hettiarachchi (Deakin University); Dr Negin Shariati (University of Technology Sydney).

Partner organisations are:

Seeing Machines Ltd, Ford Australia, Conigital Pty Ltd, Stealth Technologies Pty Ltd, Zetifi, RACQ, Mt Lindesay Pty Ltd, Melville Park Pty Ltd, Department of Transport and Main Roads, Netbi Pty Ltd, Imove Australia, Motor Trades Association of Queensland Industrial Organisation of Employers, Clipcam Pty Ltd, Murweh Shire Council,  Project 412 Pty Ltd, CSIRO, National Transport Commission, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, Transport for NSW, Centre for Connected and Automated Transport.

Other involved organisations:

Toowoomba Regional Council, Baraja Ptd Ltd, Motrada Pty Ltd,  Depart of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, Resource Industry network Co-op Ltd, Department of Environment and Science, Ford Motor Company – USA, Loughborough University UK, Technical University of Munich, University of California – Berkeley, Telstra Business and Enterprise, Department of Transport WA, Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water.

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