Austroads has released a series of reports to examine the readiness of Australian and New Zealand highways and freeways to support automated vehicles.
These reports follow previous work by Austroads and other agencies which studied how well automated vehicles could read existing line marking and road signs.
John Wall, Program Manager, Future Vehicles and Technology, Austroads said the project involve an extensive road audit to assess how well vehicle machine vision systems could interpret more than eight million line segments and 8,000 signs. The entire project spanned 25,000 kilometres of the Australasian road network.
“This followed on from a review of available literature and engaging with local and international industry stakeholders to become better informed on the latest technology and standards for automated vehicles worldwide,” said Mr. Wall.
“We also interviewed road agencies and found the single most important factor preventing them from updating detailed asset standards to reflect the needs of automated vehicles was the lack of clear guidance. Data captured from vehicle sensors was also examined to consider whether it could supplement some asset condition information road agencies collect.”
Detailed project actions, specifications and findings have been documented in five reports.
Recommendations include, adding edge lines, lane lines and centre lines to road without them, ensuring the lines have good contrast with the road surface and are regularly maintained and revising electronic speed signs to be easily interpreted by machine vision systems.
Initial guidance on thresholds for line marking width and reflectivity, and sign maintenance, has also been provided to assist road agencies when updating asset standards.
“We found that most freeways and highways of Australia and New Zealand can support Advanced Driver Assistance Systems such as lane-keeping assistance, particularly when there are high quality lines,” Mr. Wall said.
“We found that most freeways and highways of Australia and New Zealand can support Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) such as lane-keeping assistance, particularly when there are high quality lines,” Mr. Wall said.
Automated vehicles are expected to lead to improved road safety and significantly reduced risk of accidents, vehicle emissions and driver workload.