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VicRoads on the highway to innovation

13 December 2017

Joint media release with the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, the Hon Darren Chester MP, Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator the Hon Matt Canavan, and Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Craig Laundy MP.

The future of driving was on show today at the Melbourne Grand Prix Circuit, as VicRoads tested a highly automated driving (HAD) vehicle fitted with world-first satellite positioning technology.

Assistant Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science, the Hon Craig Laundy, said the test was part of the trial of a Satellite-Based Augmentation System (SBAS) for the Australasian region, funded by $12 million from the Australian Government and $2 million from the New Zealand Government.

“I’m pleased to see automated car technology being trialled with the increased accuracy provided by SBAS, showing the broad application space technology has right across Australia,” Mr Laundy said.

“VicRoads’ project is an exemplar of the innovation made possible by improvements to satellite positioning accuracy in Australia from 5 to 10 metres, to less than 10 centimetres.

“Over the course of this project, VicRoads will be comparing the accuracy of SBAS technology to commercial positioning services used to facilitate automated driving.

“VicRoads will receive up to $89,500 in funding for the project and is making an in-kind contribution of over $31,000.

“Developed in consultation with Geoscience Australia and the Australia and New Zealand Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI), VicRoads’ project is one of more than 30 selected from almost 90 applications to participate in the SBAS trial.

“The projects are spread across 10 different industry sectors, including road, rail, maritime, construction, agriculture and resources.

“Australian businesses and organisations are at the heart of this trial. Understanding how they can apply SBAS technology to lower costs and increase productivity is the key to realising its full potential.”

“Access to this type of technology through the SBAS trial will help industry and Government make informed decisions about future investments in space technology.

Minister for Resources and Northern Australia, Senator the Hon Matt Canavan, said as part of the SBAS trial, VicRoads would have access to two technologies being tested for the first time ever.

“In September, we switched on a second-generation SBAS (SBAS-2) signal at Lockheed Martin’s uplink station in Uralla, New South Wales. It is the first time anywhere in the world SBAS-2 signals have been transmitted. Australia is also the first country in the world to trial Precise Point Positioning corrections integrated into an SBAS service,” Minister Canavan said.

“Many countries around the world already use first generation SBAS, which provides accuracies of about half a metre. We are trialling not only this but also new technology that provides accuracies down to 10 centimetres.

“The SBAS trial is the first step to ensuring that Australia is not only keeping up with the rest of the world but is setting the pace.”

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Darren Chester said there were many ways Australia’s road sector could potentially benefit from the widespread availability of improved satellite positioning technology.

“The VicRoads’ project is focussed on how SBAS technology can be used to enable vehicle automation, which we know has great potential in the road safety space,” Mr Chester said.

“Other projects are looking at how it can be used to improve the 3D digital maps used by transport sectors, and how to apply the improved integrity and availability provided by SBAS.

“For Australia to keep up with the rest of the world when it comes to transport, we cannot have any black spots in our satellite positioning capability.”

Media contacts: Minister Laundy's office 02 6277 4345
                              Minister Canavan's office 02 6277 7180
                              Minister Chester's office 02 6277 7680