“I remember sitting at VicRoads, back in 2012, telling our CEO at the time, cooperative ITS is here, autonomous vehicles are going to be here,” comments Dean Zabrieszach of HMI Technologies in Australia and New Zealand on this week’s Highways Voices, “We need to deploy equipment all over the countryside, because they’ll be here in two or three years – and here we are in 2024, and we haven’t quite got there!”

Dean joins Paul Hutton to discuss a new driverless pod project in Milton Keynes which brought him from Melbourne in Australia to the UK, and to consider what the autonomous vehicle industry has achieved since the hype of a decade ago, and how the “The biggest hurdle has been the safety aspect that all the agencies, all the authorities, all the jurisdictions want to actually nail down completely.”

Passengers in Milton Keynes will be able to use the Ohmio self-driving shuttles from as early as October, and Dean discusses why the last mile, slower speed pods have been successful when deployed, while fully automated Level Five vehicles haven’t become quite as widespread.

He also talks about the technology from the viewpoint of his time as Director of Roads Operations at VicRoads in Victoria, Australia, and whether he’d have embraced the technology: “I think it would have been a tough discussion,” he admits. “But if it was a discussion that was seen as being something that was good for Melbourne, good for Victoria, that could ultimately lead to better safety outcomes, I would have had a try – I would have had a go at it.”

You’ll also hear latest news about the ALARM survey, about the traffic signals funding announcement from the Government, and why friends of Highways Voices VESOS and Valerann are among this week’s winners of “Adrian’s Accolade”.


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