Riders ignored by autonomous tests

BMW Vision Next 100 driverless automated self-driving artificial intelligence tests autonomous

Australian governments have issued guidelines for trials of autonomous vehicles on our roads but made no mention of motorcycles.

The 24-page Austroads and National Transport Commission report does not mention motorcycles once, although bicycles are mentioned.

Austroads boss Nick Koukoulas says the guidelines draw on international best practice and have a strong focus on safety.

This is despite the European Community temporarily suspending all autonomous vehicle testing until motorcycles were included after a female motorcycle rider was rear-ended by an automated Tesla S under test in Norway.

Australian Motorcycle Council representative Guy Stanford had called on authorities to slow down the testing and introduction of autonomous vehicles.

He said authorities seemed keen to progress toward autonomous vehicles without considering the impact on motorcyclists, pedestrians and cyclists who may not be detected by sophisticated vehicle sensors.

“There is no doubt we are facing an electronic future, but is it as safe as they claim?” Guy asked.

He says autonomous vehicles represent a huge threat to smaller road users such as riders.

However, it seems motorcycles do not figure in the official guidelines.

NTC boss Paul Retter says the guidelines are designed to be flexible and easy for industry to use, to support trials across Australia.

“We have worked closely with vehicle manufacturers, technology developers and federal, state and territory governments to ensure our approach to trials is nationally-consistent and reflects best practice,” he says.

“With a range of different environmental conditions, a receptive population and now guidelines for the safe conduct of trials, Australia has the potential to become a global testing and innovation hub for automated vehicles.”

Despite no mention of motorcycles in the guidelines, Bosch radar technology that alerts riders of oncoming traffic will be trialled in South Australia.

Bosch radar warns riders of traffic autonomous
Bosch radar warns riders of traffic

The technology is the same as has been used in autonomous vehicle testing in the state.

Read our full report here.

5 Comments

  1. What about pedestrians, animals, rocks, out of control vehicles, falling tree limbs, hailstones, roadside workers, and birds?

  2. Autonomous vehicles are an all or nothing thing, there are not enough sensors and computer intelligence in the world to predict the human unpredictability, not even we humans made out of flesh can predict ourselves accurately on the road, the only way I can see it working is if autonomous vehicles are confined to a designated lane where pedestrians and other vehicles are not allowed, but we have trains already, so it makes no sense. Public transportation and motorcycles are the true answer to fix traffic chaos on crowded cities.

  3. Yes,

    “…We have worked closely with vehicle manufacturers, technology developers and federal, state and territory governments …”

    Read

    “We have worked closely with the vested interests who have something to sell and the people who want to cut costs of public transport…. and dont care about the vulnerable road users who may pay a price”

  4. The autonomous vehicle crowd are ignoring motorcycles. They see the future as being composed of only autonomous vehicles so since they cannot make motocycles autonomous they will want them banned entirely. Only then will our roads be free from anyone enjoying themselves.

  5. “…We have worked closely with vehicle manufacturers, technology developers and federal, state and territory governments …”

    Everyone except road users. Good thinking.

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