REGIONAL NSW IN FAST LANE TO LEAD AUTONOMOUS VEHICLE TECHNOLOGY

EDITORIAL USE ONLY General views of the Transport Systems Catapult driverless car during it's launch in Milton Keynes. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday October 11, 2016. Photo credit should read: Fabio De Paola/PA Wire

The NSW Government has unveiled its vision for regional NSW to become the Southern Hemisphere hub of cutting-edge autonomous vehicle technology, with a testing and research ‘city’ to be built at Cudal, near Orange.


Minister for Regional Transport and Roads Sam Farraway today announced a $9.5 million upgrade to the Future Mobility Testing and Research Centre – once the local airstrip – which opened in 2019.


“This is an exciting investment in the future of Regional NSW, and the future of this cutting-edge technology in Australia,” Mr Farraway said.


“Already this facility is a base for engineers to test emerging technologies in the automotive industry, but this new investment of $9.5 million will include $1 million to develop a masterplan for the Southern Hemisphere’s first government-run testing centre for emerging vehicle technology.


“Our goal is to develop Australia’s first certification site for driverless vehicles. We want to include simulated city scenarios, pedestrian interaction test zones and dynamic driverless vehicle test environments like rain, tunnels, and dirt roads.”


Mr Farraway made the announcement after turning the first sod on a new 400-metre intersection which, along with a new one-kilometre section of road, will provide additional testing infrastructure at the centre. Both are due for completion by November.

“These upgrades deliver an economic boost to local businesses by generating at least $2 million in revenue each year through commercial testing opportunities,” Mr Farraway said.


“Bringing the facility in line with 2023 local and international testing requirements will see the facility’s capability further expand to accommodate the growing breadth of active safety testing required by independent safety authority, ANCAP.

“The new intersection and road means we’ll be able to run two testing scenarios at once, employ up to three additional full-time staff, and meet future testing demands.”


ANCAP Chief Executive Carla Hoorweg said there will also be a flow-on benefit to consumers.


“Having access to world-class active safety testing facilities locally means Australian consumers and road users reap the benefits of a safer vehicle fleet,” Ms Hoorweg said.


“The upgrades enable means vehicles can be tested to the latest, globally-recognised safety standards, and ensure manufacturers are encouraged to supply newer, safer vehicles to our market.”


The Future Mobility Testing and Research Centre currently employs six full-time staff at Cudal, with an additional five staff members based in Sydney.


The NSW Government is committed to moving Towards Zero fatalities on NSW roads, and the Cudal facility plays a key role in testing life-saving crash prevention technologies, including lane keep assist, and advanced autonomous braking systems that we want to see mandatory on all new vehicles entering the Australian market by 2023.

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