The advent of autonomous vehicles in Australia could be closer than we think, according to the managing Director of Volvo Car Australia, Kevin McCann.
But before Aussie freeways are filled with swarms of self-driving vehicles, Australian regulators will need to implement changes to traffic laws, to match the fast-paced changes in driverless technology.
Speaking at the first Australian trial of an autonomous Volvo XC90, as part of this week’s International Driverless Cars Conference held in Adelaide, Mr McCann urged state and territory governments to keep pace with autonomous vehicle technology.
“As the Adelaide trial will demonstrate, autonomous drive technology is here now.” Mr McCann said.
“There will be roads where the technology is applicable and the autonomous features of the car can work effectively, for example on sections of the F3 freeway in NSW, and the Western Freeway in Victoria.”
The year 2020 has been set as the target date that numerous manufacturers have set themselves to bring autonomous technology to market, Volvo amongst them.
“I am confident that within 3 or 4 years we can have cars with autonomous drive features being driven on prescribed roads if state governments change their laws to accommodate them.” Mr McCann added .
"Currently there are legal restrictions which require the driver to be fully in control of the car at all times,”
Technology included in the autonomous XC90 includes automatic lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, and queue assist. The vehicle is able to monitor surrounding traffic, and react accordingly.
Volvo’s autonomous trial will take place on this saturday, the 7th of November, on a section of Adelaide’s Southern Expressway. A standard ‘pace car’ will join the XC90 to demonstrate its ability to react to other vehicles.
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