[ASC-media] Media Release: Cooperative driverless vehicles ready to roll

Anthony Coates a.coates at mailbox.gu.edu.au
Wed Jan 29 16:31:53 EST 2003


MEDIA RELEASE
GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY
28/1/03

Cooperative driverless vehicles ready to roll

Griffith University (Queensland, Australia) researchers have developed
technology which could lead to cooperative driverless vehicles being on our
roads in the near future.

Microelectronic Engineering researchers from the University's Intelligent
Control Systems Laboratory (ICSL) have developed hardware and software
which enables vehicles to undertake everyday driving manoeuvres in
cooperation with each other, independent of humans.

Project leader Associate Professor Ljubo Vlacic said his team had just
completed what was believed to be the world's first on-road demonstration
of a cooperative driving solution for unsignalised intersection traversal
and an overtaking manoeuvre by autonomous road vehicles designed for
cities.

"The aim of our research is to revolutionise the transport industry sector
by deploying in-car cooperative autonomous driving systems capable of not
just overriding but entirely replacing human drivers," Associate Professor
Vlacic said.

"In late December we successfully tested our technology in Rocquencourt,
France, using three computer-assisted experimental vehicle platforms
developed by the French scientific organisation INRIA and their industry
partner ROBOSOFT. The tests were undertaken in an outdoor environment in
cooperation with researchers from INRIA's IMARA laboratory led by Dr Michel
Parent.

"We interfaced Griffith University's hardware and software modules with
their onboard computers allowing the vehicles to simultaneously perform a
variety of cooperative autonomous driving manoeuvres in real-time."

The vehicles undertook several manoeuvres without any human interaction
including an unsignalised intersection manoeuvre, a cooperative overtaking
manoeuvre, and a manoeuvre requiring the vehicles to drive one behind each
other while maintaining distance and track control.

Associate Professor Vlacic said the ability of driverless vehicles to
interact via direct communication as well as act autonomously was vital to
the successful implementation of a citywide transportation system.

"The technology we have developed will enable a plethora of autonomous
vehicles to coexist on the roads and drive in cooperation with each other
and even simultaneously with road vehicles driven by humans," he said.

"In addition to the positive effect this system could have for the
community by reducing road congestion, traffic noise and energy
consumption, a key advantage of the technology is its ability to improve
road safety by reducing the risk of driver error."

The ICSL Cooperative Autonomous Driving technology was initially tested
successfully in an indoor research laboratory environment at Griffith
University in 1999.  The technology was then deployed on Griffith
University's mobile-robot based platforms, before being tested in the
computer-assisted vehicles in December 2002.

Associate Professor Vlacic said the technology was now ready for deployment
in low-traffic areas such as resorts and retirement villages.

He said the technology could also be used on suburban streets in the near
future for a door-to-door service designed to complement existing public
transport means by moving people to and from bus and railway stations.

"To take our research to the next stage or commercially implement some of
the existing solutions, we would need to secure significant funding."

Associate Professor Vlacic was invited by European Union researchers to
join them in developing a novel urban transportation system based on
automated vehicles.

He is currently involved in three European Union research projects ?
CyberCars, CyberMove and NetMobil.

The research project being undertaken by Griffith University's Intelligent
Control Systems Laboratory is funded by Griffith University, the Australian
Government's Innovation Access Program ? International Science & Technology
(DEST, AusIndustry), the Australian Academy of Science, the Australian
Research Council, and the French Embassy in Australia.


Please note: Video footage and photos of the recently completed research
demonstration are available upon request. For further information, please
contact Anthony Coates, Griffith University, +61 (0)7 5552 8654.


MEDIA CONTACTS:
Associate Professor Ljubo Vlacic - +61 (0)7 3875 5024
Anthony Coates (Communications Officer) - +61 (0)7 5552 8654 or 0419 649
516

______________________
Anthony Coates
Communications Officer
External Relations
GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY
Queensland, Australia

Tel: +61 (0)7 5552 8654
Fax: +61 (0)7 5552 8517
Mob: 0419 649 516
A.Coates at griffith.edu.au
______________________





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