Self-driving car technologies, such as lane-keeping assistance, are increasingly offered by the latest production cars in Australia. Hands-free driving on Melbourne’s EastLink and other suitable freeways is expected within the next few years subject to legislative changes.
EastLink is working in partnership with VicRoads, the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB), La Trobe University and RACV to identify opportunities to improve the compatibility between the latest self-driving car technologies and freeway infrastructure. Cars have been provided by a wide range of manufacturers including Audi, BMW, Honda, Lexus, Mazda, Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Tesla and Volvo.
To complement this trials program, EastLink with support from ARRB has now completed the first annual Victorian Self-Driving Vehicle Survey. More than 15,000 Victorian motorists completed the survey, making it one of the world’s largest surveys of motorists’ attitudes to self-driving cars.
Key survey results include:
- More than half of respondents are no longer considering a traditional petrol combustion engine for their next car. A third of respondents are now considering hybrid power as an option for their next car. A quarter are considering the 100 per cent battery electric vehicle option.
- The majority of respondents say they have very little or no knowledge of self-driving cars. More and better information about self-driving cars needs to be provided to Victorian motorists.
- More than half of respondents want lane keeping assistance (also known as highway autopilot) in their next car, which should encourage manufacturers to continue to roll out this feature and ensure it works effectively on our freeways.
- Even though hands-free driving on our freeways is not yet available, one in three respondents already want this feature in their next car.
- The majority of respondents want their next car to be connected to a data network to receive traffic and road condition warnings, vehicle security and automatic emergency assistance.
“The majority of respondents say they have very little or no knowledge of self-driving cars,” said Doug Spencer-Royd, Corporate Affairs and Marketing Manager for the ConnectEast Group. “With self-driving features such as lane keeping assistance and self-parking already available in the latest production cars from an increasing number of manufacturers and at lower price points, it’s clear that more and better information needs to be provided to Victorian motorists.
“More than half of respondents say they want lane keeping assistance in their next car. The trials of self-driving car technologies on EastLink are helping to ensure this feature works effectively on Victorian freeways. We encourage all manufacturers to take part.
“EastLink’s survey shows that a majority of respondents want their next car to be connected to a data network to receive traffic and road condition warnings, vehicle security and automatic emergency assistance. With assistance from road operators, telecommunication providers and others, car manufacturers can deliver useful services to improve road safety and help motorists navigate congestion better.”