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.

Funding announced for $700,000 Litter Innovation Fund applicants

Successful applicants for Round 2 of Sustainability Victoria’s $700,000 Litter Innovation Fund have been announced, including councils, businesses and not-for-profit organisations and social enterprises.

Grants were offered in two rounds and provided up to $20,000 for innovative solutions to litter and illegal dumping that are delivered through a partnership.

Related stories:

The package comprises of two funding streams, projects in the Yarra River and Port Philip Bay catchment and projects outside of these areas.

Successful applicants include Southern Cross Recycling Group, in partnership with the City of Whittlesea and Maribyrnong, for the Mobile Community Resource Recovery Hub, a purpose-built trailer that provides a collection point for small household items and clothing.

Monash City Council in partnership with Monash University have also been grated funding to assist the culturally and linguistically diverse student education project to reduce illegally dumped waste.

Boroondara, Nillumbik and Yarra City Councils have partnered with Connectsus to fund the Binasys project, which will install ultrasonic level sensor technology to provide a live demand profile of each public litter bin.

In an effort to tackle construction litter, Wydnham City Council, Wolfdene Property Development Group, Point Cook Open Spaces and Beach Patrol will use the funding to liaison with developers, builders and tradies using a pledge system.

EPA Victoria and VicRoads will assist the Macedon Ranges Shire Council to install infrastructure at identified hotspots to increase enforcement and behaviour change and reduce illegal dumping through education campaigns.

A roadside litter campaign will also be launched addressing litter from vehicles along major transport routes due to the funding provided to the Grampians Central West Waste and Resource Recovery Group, VicRoads and local government authorities.

EPA and VicRoads to target waste transporters

Environment Protection Authority Victoria (EPA) and VicRoads are reminding waste transporters to ensure their vehicles are roadworthy and comply with waste transport laws, as the regulators begin joint roadside operations across the state.

Commencing this week, the joint operations follow the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding which will see VicRoads officers gather intelligence on behalf of EPA during inspections of vehicles transporting hazardous waste known as prescribed industrial waste (PIW).

Under this agreement, EPA authorised officers will also conduct roadside inspections in conjunction with VicRoads to assess vehicle compliance.

EPA Executive Director of Regulatory Practice and Strategy, Chris Webb, said the transport of PIW is a priority area of EPA’s Illegal Dumping Strikeforce – a program developed to reduce the dumping of industrial waste.

“PIW waste must be transported appropriately to ensure the safety of drivers as well as the broader community and the environment,” Mr Webb said.

“If you hold an EPA permit to transport PIW, it’s your responsibility to know what type of waste you’re transporting and that the location you’re taking it to can lawfully accept it. Relying on the advice of waste facility managers or contractors is no defence.

“Complying with waste management and transport laws is pretty simple and transporters need to understand their obligations and operate within the law. Failure to do so can lead to fines of up to $373,104 and loss of your vehicle permit.”

Mr Webb said EPA authorised officers will check waste vehicles have the proper signage and authorizations to transport different types of waste. Vehicles will also be checked for compliance against the vehicles permit conditions.

“EPA’s new partnership with VicRoads not only enables us to pool resources out in the field, but also facilitates the exchange of information and intelligence. While subject to privacy and confidentiality laws, this information sharing strengthens our ability to identify high-risk vehicles quickly and act,” he said.

VicRoads Director Heavy Vehicle Services, Eric Henderson said that compliance with the requirements of EPA and the transport of PIW in Victoria is paramount to achieving road safety.

“VicRoads warns heavy vehicle operators to ensure their fleet is well maintained and roadworthy,” Mr Henderson said.

In 2016, EPA released Super PIW Bros – an animation that explains the process for transporting PIW waste. To watch the video, or for more information on transporting waste, visit EPA’s website.