First automated vehicle to hit the road in Victoria

Automated vehicle technology will be tested in rural Victoria in 2019 in the first on-road trial approved under the new Automated Driving System (ADS) permit scheme.

On January 21, Acting Premier Jacinta Allan announced that Bosch has been awarded $2.3 million from the Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) trial grants program and granted the state’s first ADS permit for on-road testing of highly automated driving systems.

“Victoria is leading the nation in the future of on-road technology and this trial is an exciting step towards driverless vehicles hitting the road.

“The tragic fact is that you’re five times as likely to be killed on a rural road than in the city.

“That’s why we’re rolling out a record roads investment in rural Victoria – and this is another way we can improve safety and save lives,” Mr Allan said.

In 2018, Victoria finalised regulations to support the ADS permit scheme, which authorises the use of automated vehicles for testing and development on Australian roads.

Bosch is currently developing its automated vehicle technology and will begin testing on high-speed rural roads later in 2019.

The aim of the Bosch trial is to use the technology to improve safety on rural Victorian roads – where drivers are five times as likely to be killed in a crash than in metropolitan areas.

Bosch Australia president Gavin Smith said the company is eager to start this trial with technologies that will show how road safety can be improved and how road trauma on rural roads can be reduced.

The testing will be conducted on roads that expose the automated vehicle to a range of different conditions including traffic, weather and infrastructure.

In late 2017, VicRoads called for expressions of interest from companies, industry bodies and other transport technology organisations to apply for funding to spur the development of these emerging technologies. which will lead to reduced deaths and serious injuries.

Other successful applicants will be announced soon.

The trials will support Victoria’s readiness for CAV technologies and the knowledge gained will provide a better understanding of the infrastructure required to get these vehicles on the road, maximising their safety benefits.

Repurpose It goes Volvo buying excavators and loaders

Australian waste-to-resource company Repurpose It have opted for Volvo Construction Equipment’s excavators and loaders for their Victorian plant.

The five new machines will assist the company’s loading and handling duties to assist in their recycling operation that sees large quantities of waste material re-used in the construction industry.

One Volvo EC250DL and two EC220DL units were chosen for excavation duties on the site, Repurpose It aims to input the tools on general earthmoving, screen feeding, sorting and stockpiling projects.

The company chose the L110F and L220H two-wheeled loaders for their loading work which will see hopper fed into their new recycling plant.

Repurpose It CEO George Hatzimanolis said that the company was happy to choose Volvo as the manufacturer alings with their energy efficiency commitments and engineering values.

“Our business is focused on reducing our carbon footprint and working towards a more sustainable future, as is Volvo,” Mr Hatzimanolis said.

“We were also attracted to the quality that comes with Volvo machines.”

The two EC220DL excavation units chosen for the site uses Volvo’s modern D6 diesel engine reporting 10% extra fuel efficiency over its competitors.

The Volvo machines were purchased from Dandenong’s CJD Equipment, Volvo’s exclusive Australian distribution partner.

Volvo backs new program for women drivers

The first Superior Heavy Vehicle Licensing (SHVL) program for women will be delivered in partnership between Wodonga TAFE’s Transport Division DECA, Transport Women Australia Limited (TWAL) and Volvo Group.

The program has been created to help women qualify for their heavy vehicle licence. Volvo will supply a prime mover for the four-week intensive training course designed to provide students with behind-the-wheel experience.

By encouraging female drivers to participate in the course, DECA was looking at a solution to address the driver shortage across the road transport sector.

At the recent Transport Women Australia Conference in Canberra, Women Driving Transport Careers was launched. Offered in Metropolitan Melbourne, the course will be arranged in conjunction with Volvo Group Australia Driver Academy.

Simon Macaulay, National Manager Transport at DECA, said the training will assist females obtain a high demand skill for which to fast-track their entrance into the heavy transport workforce.

“We provide participants with the industry standard skills and know-how. We take them through areas that are barely mentioned in a lot of licence instruction, such as safety protocols and health and safety procedures, road maps, fatigue management, chain of responsibility and use of technology,” Macauley said.

Volvo Group Australia has found the average age of truck drivers in Australia is 47. Meanwhile 52 per cent of employers, according to its research conducted in 2016, struggle to attract the quantity of drivers needed and 46 per cent are already experiencing a shortage of available drivers.

President and CEO of Volvo Group Australia Peter Voorhoeve said the company is working hard to attract new and more diverse talent into the heavy transport sector.

“Australia is standing on the precipice of a serious truck driver shortage, the effects of which will be felt far beyond the transport industry. If the industry does not find ways to attract more drivers to the industry, we will all feel the pain in higher prices for the things that trucks move up and down our highways – food, clothing, construction materials, medical supplies and consumer goods to name just a few.

“As the leading manufacturer of trucks in Australia, we take our role in the industry seriously, which is why we are constantly looking for new ways to grow the heavy transport sector workforce and champion greater diversity in the driver workforce.”

(Image: 2017 Volvo Truck Challenge finalist Kerri Connors).