15 August 2017

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It is clear that fully autonomous self-driving vehicles are no longer a futuristic concept, but an impending reality. Eager to learn more about this industry, AARC executives recently travelled to the United States as part of the Autonomous Transport Solutions study tour, to observe the development of autonomous technology.

The tour commenced at the Automated Vehicle Symposium in San Francisco, the largest dedicated automated vehicles meeting in the world. This provided AARC with the opportunity to enquire into progress in the industry, connect with professionals involved in the automated vehicle market and to look to develop longer term collaboration opportunities with key sector players.

Next was a visit to M-City, University of Michigan, the world’s first purpose-built outdoor testing laboratory for driverless vehicles. Here AARC were able to gain further knowledge on how to advance innovative technology testing in Australia. The tour group were also able to experience futuristic technology first hand, with a ride around the facility in an autonomous and electric NAVYA shuttle.

The final leg of the tour saw AARC receive the opportunity to engage with colleagues of our tenant Bosch, with a visit to Bosch USA Flat Rock Michigan Proving Ground. Discussions covered future plans for both proving grounds and how to meet and facilitate new technological developments.

In addition, AARC executives travelled to the American Centre for Mobility, a federally designated proving ground for automated vehicle testing, along with Tesla’s manufacturing plant in California, to learn more about supporting the advancement of electric vehicles.

AARC intends to be an active player in the development of unmanned autonomous vehicles and believe the proving grounds’ facilities, replicating nearly all conditions in Australia, provide the ideal test bed for these innovations to be securely developed. Existing facilities include a 4.2km highway circuit, gradient sections replicating typical Australian country roads, second class surfaces, Australian Design Rules circuit, low mu ceramic and basalt tiles and park brake facilities, to name a few. With 1000 hectares of land, there is also plenty of opportunity for construction of facilities designed specifically for testing and validating autonomous vehicles, comparable with those in the US.

The AARC team are looking forward to engaging with vehicle and component manufacturers throughout the Asia Pacific region, as well as the university sector, to support the development of autonomous innovations that experts predict will dramatically improve safety and efficiency.