Cooperative and Highly Automated Driving Safety Study

Cooperative and Highly Automated Driving
Image courtesy of iMOVE CRC

The Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads is conducting a Cooperative and Highly Automated Driving (CHAD) Safety Study. It will deliver a cooperative and (highly) automated vehicle (CAV) prototype, research platform and local expertise base, to conduct a comprehensive safety study to inform government policy and direction.

This iMOVE project is intended to prepare for the arrival of CAVs with safety, mobility and environmental benefits on Australian roads.

CAVs offer potential to significantly reduce accidents due to human error; however, they also introduce new safety challenges.

This project will provide a core research platform – comprising a Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Level 4 Electric CAV prototype, which will be used to deliver a safety study that explores a range of CAV impacts and benefits.

Five Work Packages (WP) will lay the technical and human factor foundations for safe introduction of CAVs to Australian roads – providing an evidence-base to support government policy and decision-making and future CAV development by industry.

The study will develop recommendations regarding how to make CAVs and associated infrastructure more resilient to road safety risks, as well as to increase public awareness about CAV to encourage uptake and benefits realisation.

The five work packages are:

  1. Safety, legal and ethics: prepare on-road permit applications and ethics submissions to support WP1 to 4.
  2. Driving task handover in automated vehicles (AVs): Evaluate safety impacts of handover between the vehicle and driver in complex situations, and develop good practice guidelines for the human machine interface.
  3. C-ITS and AV integration, and benefits evaluation: Design and test AV responses to cooperative intelligent transport system (C-ITS) use cases, and evaluate AV performance improvements and safety benefits.
  4. Australian safety challenges for CAVs in the dynamic road environment: Identify Australian-specific safety-critical (‘risky’) scenarios relating to the interaction of CAVs with other road users; determine potential mitigations and test mitigation for one scenario on-road.
  5. CAV public awareness and demonstrations: Build public understanding and awareness of CAV through public demonstrations, displays, and a targeted public awareness campaign.

There is also a support package that looks at database management relating to design, build and maintenance of IT infrastructure for data collection and analysis, particularly for WP3 and another of our iMOVE projects, How Automated Vehicles will Interact with Road Infrastructure Now and in the Future.


Project background

Highly automated vehicles – Levels 3 to 5 per SAE International definitions – are being increasingly trialled and demonstrated on Australian roads in preparation for deployment, which vehicle manufacturers are stating will occur over the next decade.

A key driver of automated vehicle (AV) development and deployment is safety, due to the potential to reduce or eliminate human error. The uptake of increasingly automated vehicles is an emerging opportunity to improve the safety of the Australian vehicle fleet.

However, the deployment of AVs on public roads, particularly during the transition phase when there is a mixed fleet of non-automated and partially automated vehicles, also raises new safety risks – which are heightened due to the new and emerging nature of the technology.

In Australia, the focus has been on shuttle bus demonstrations (for example, Navya, Easymile). These support public engagement and can help inform policy and regulatory issues for the shuttles’ specific operational domain (less than 15 km/h speed). However, these vehicles are not cooperative, generally not Australian Design Rules (ADR) compliant, provide no access to vehicle data for analysis, and are too small or lack focus to assist in understanding the vehicle’s safety.

This iMOVE project will help fill this gap by providing a CAV prototype that is more than just a demonstration vehicle – it is a research platform that will be used to support a range of research activities on CAV. This research will provide data-driven information to support government decision-making and positive public sentiment regarding safe introduction of CAVs to Australian roads.

The CAV prototype will be used to support a program of research (through this iMOVE project and beyond) that addresses the following global questions regarding the safe progressive introduction of CAVs into real-world traffic environments, and associated challenges:

This project will explore the following:

Relation and interaction between road users

  • What are the driver or operator behaviours in a CAV during handover of vehicle control? Can we increase CAV’s acceptability and trust and minimise errors and misuse with a set of human machine interface (HMI) guidelines?
  • What are the safety risks arising from road users interacting with CAV? How can we measure a baseline behaviour (existing traffic environment with human driven vehicles) and compare their response to a highly automated vehicle?
  • What are the specific situations that a CAV will have to face in real traffic (e.g. environment, road users, vehicles, traffic)? Can we define use cases to test and evaluate future CAV deployment?

Integration of C-ITS and AV technologies

  • How do we integrate standards-based C-ITS information with the AV safety functionality?


  • How can the acquired knowledge help us to improve the impact of CAV on driver awareness and define future guidelines?
  • How can we assist policymakers in gaining a greater understanding and awareness of road users’ response to, and operation in or interaction with, a CAV?

Performance requirement and benefit evaluation

  • Can we evaluate the benefit related to the introduction of CAV on safety, and traffic?
  • What is the expected performance of future CAVs considering Australian-specific conditions and how can it be measured?
  • Can we evaluate the performance requirement of CAV main functionalities for safe operation?

Project objectives

The objectives for TMR’s CHAD Pilot are as follows:

  • validate the impacts and benefits and user perceptions
  • demonstrate technologies and build public awareness and uptake
  • grow government’s technical and organisational readiness
  • encourage partnerships and build capability in private and public sectors

The specific objectives of this iMOVE project are to:

  • establish a base CAV expertise and research platform to support a range of research that assesses the safety impacts and benefits of CAVs
  • deliver an evidence base to inform government decision-making and industry practice regarding safe introduction (e.g. compliance) of CAVs onto Australian roads
  • deliver multiple stakeholder and public demonstrations of the technology in urban and regional areas to achieve greater awareness and understanding of future opportunities, benefits and impacts

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