In an Australian-first, Transurban is now trialling a self-driving connected and automated vehicle (CAV) truck on CityLink in Melbourne.
The CAV truck is guided on its journey by innovative technology from Transurban, which communicates real-time road and traffic conditions directly to the vehicle.
With road freight projected to grow steadily in the coming decades, CAVs have the potential to transform the freight industry, helping to move more goods, more quickly between businesses and consumers.
While mass adoption of CAVs may still be some time away, this trial will ultimately help Transurban better understand how roads and road technology can be future-proofed to prepare for CAVs joining the mix of vehicles already on Melbourne’s transport network.
Where Transurban’s previous CAV trials have tested how vehicles use sensors to understand their immediate surroundings, this trial goes further by testing how the road ‘talks back’ to the CAV truck.
CityLink is one of the most technologically sophisticated networks in the world, with embedded technology including over 600 CCTV cameras, Automatic Incident Detection Systems and smart sensors to monitor for traffic events like debris and stopped vehicles.
During the trial, real-time data from these systems will be fed directly to the CAV truck, so that it can understand road and traffic conditions up to 1km ahead of its sensors.
The CAV truck has been rigorously tested for several weeks at the Australian Automotive Research Centre under the careful supervision of a team from the Taiwan Industrial Technology Research Institute, which has provided the vehicle.
During on-road trials, the CAV truck will only travel at night-time when there is less traffic on the road. The vehicle will travel in a dedicated lane from Todd Road on the West Gate Freeway, through the tunnels and onto the CityLink/Monash Freeway, finishing at Warrigal Road. The CAV truck will then turnaround and travel along the same route. There will be a specially trained safety driver onboard at all times.
The vehicle will initially be accompanied by pilot vehicles and Transurban’s team of 24/7 traffic control officers will also monitor the road and conditions using an extensive system of CCTV cameras and monitoring systems.
Transurban has been running a comprehensive connected and automated vehicle program since 2017, which involves trials on motorways to test how they respond to road infrastructure. Since its initial launch in Victoria, Transurban has worked with government and industry to roll out 10 successful trials across Australia and North America.