Semi-autonomous Truck Platoons in Europe

Is the emerging autonomous vehicle technology suitable for freight vehicles in Australia?

A demonstration convoy involving six truck manufacturers drove across Europe in April 2016, sponsored by the Netherlands transport agency.

These trucks used autonomous driving technologies to communicate wirelessly and follow in close succession. Semi-autonomous refers to the need for a driver at least in the first truck.

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Emerging fourth ‘E’ in improving road safety

Road safety has successfully applied the 3 E’s: engineering, education and enforcement, preferably in combination, as they have demonstrated their effectiveness in reducing the human costs of road crashes.

Now as a result of application of technology the potential of fourth ‘E’: encouragement has emerged as a disruptive business model.

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Can technology make trips more reliable?

Traffic information services have evolved from delivering basic guidance to users (such as the location of specific incidents or major congestion) to offering real-time traffic flow data and now to helping drivers make better decisions by providing real time and predictive information.

As car drivers we don’t like everyday traffic congestion, but we become used to it and plan for it. We leave early enough to get to where we are going on time. But unexpected congestion is another thing. We hate it. As you approach a traffic jam that you were not aware of (and its too late to do anything about it!) – this is the first level of traffic information.

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New Technology to Cut Freeway Congestion

>As part of Melbourne’s $1.4 billion M1 upgrade project, a new traffic management system is being developed to effectively tackle congestion on the key freeway.

Victorian Roads Minister Tim Pallas has announced the $14 million contract to design the software for the new traffic management system has been awarded to Queensland company Transmax.

“The system is unique in Australia and will deliver significant improvements to the operation of the freeway, used by more than 160,000 motorists every day,” Mr Pallas said.

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RFID tags in the road hold promise for smarter vehicle location systems

What makes intelligent vehicles smart? The ability of a vehicle to ‘know’ where it is at any given moment is one measure of intelligence that enables a host of intelligent transportation systems applications, from basic navigation assistance to automatic collision warning.

Many vehicle location and positioning applications are built around Global Positioning System (GPS) technology, which, in theory, provides the capability to locate a GPS-equipped vehicle anywhere on the Earth’s surface. However, in practice, GPS is limited by the need for clear ‘views’ of orbiting satellites; bridges, tunnels, and the urban canyons of downtown areas can block or interfere with GPS signals, resulting in unacceptable gaps in service.

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Can advances in intelligent vehicles help?

Developments in intelligent transport systems, particularly transmission of real-time information between vehicles (vehicle-to-vehicle), and with road network operators (vehicle-to-infrastructure), have led to consideration of further applications to deliver critical road safety and mobility outcomes.

Despite the advances made since the 1970’s, communities are demanding further improvements in road safety, reductions in the growing impact of congestion on mobility and reliability of travel, and reductions in energy use and emissions due to road transport.

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