Australian telecommunications incumbent Telstra has joined forces with the New South Wales government and a number of technology partners to launch the first driverless vehicle in the state. The consortium has begun trials on the autonomous car, which covers vehicle-to-pedestrian technology. It is expected that the trial will run over a two-year period at Sydney Olympic Park.
Telstra Enterprise's Head of New South Wales, Oliver Blain, claimed that this new innovative project only serves to highlight how the future of the transport sector will be shaped by automation, artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things.
Blain said, "The ultimate goal of the trial is to find the best ways to harness the next generation of driverless technology and continue to improve safety and reliability for transport customers and road users in NSW."
It was further disclosed during a media press briefing that those behind the project and representatives of the New South Wales government, expect employees at Sydney Olympic Park to begin using the automated shuttle by next year. In addition to this, Telstra's Head of Enterprise in NSW confirmed that the Australian telecommunications colossus is aggressively pursuing and exploring other autonomous and connected technology on several fronts in a bid to understand the challenges and opportunities it represents, and also accelerate the economic and societal benefits it will undoubtedly achieve.
1,292 people lost their lives on Australian roads in 2016 - and the government is actively trying to introduce new safety measures and policies in an effort to drastically reduce that alarming number. Some politicians have called the current situation an 'epidemic' and believe that autonomous technology could be the key factor in making roads safer.
Blain added, "Our partnership with Transport NSW reinforces our investment in developing technology that unlocks the potential for numerous social and economic benefits of autonomous vehicles in Australia.
Telstra is also a member of the steering committee for the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), which is an organization primarily focused on promoting the introduction of driverless vehicles in the country.