Australian heavy vehicle industry eyeing a safer future

A joint venture led by the heavy vehicle industry and partially funded by the Australian Government has delivered the Advanced Safe Truck Concept (ASTC).

The project aims to reduce fatal truck crashes by developing new vehicle technologies, through the study of driver behaviour, in a range of settings, with a focus on driver fatigue and distraction.

At a launch event in Melbourne, Assistant Minister for Road Safety and Freight Transport, Scott Buchholz said the Australian heavy vehicle sector is leading the way on improving driver safety.

“This is the largest, most comprehensive study into driver behaviour we have seen in the freight transport sector. This study has demonstrated very clearly how effective driver monitoring technology can assist in addressing driver fatigue.

“Importantly this has been a real-life study, incorporating live data and taking into account the varying conditions experienced by our truck drivers across the road network,” Minister Buchholz said.

Existing telematics technology, utilised by some of the largest operators in the industry is based on a four-second lapse of concentration.

“What we know from this study, Seeing Machine’s project ‘Guardian’ would halve that lapse time. Within two-seconds a driver would be alerted through a seat based alert mechanism.

“This addresses fatigue induced micro-sleeping and driver distraction, refocusing those behind the wheel and therefore, reducing distraction to prevent accidents, serious injury and road trauma.”

Throughout his address, Minister Buchholz reiterated the Australian Government was proud to support initiatives that allow industry, academia and government to work together to deliver safety and productivity improvements, using better technology.

“The Australian Government has provided $2.25 million towards the study, funded through the Cooperative Research Centre Project.

“I applaud Seeing Machines, the Monash University Accident Research Centre, Volvo Group Australia and Ron Finemore Transport Group for working together to develop this world-class technology, right here in our backyard.

“Ron Finemore transport an Australian company with a fleet of over 200 heavy vehicles, travelling 1.5 million kilometres per week, has been at the forefront of the research as part of the trial.

“I am enthused that technology is emerging that will enable the freight industry to monitor and improve driver safety and wellbeing in ways not previously possible,” said Minister Buchholz.

The Australian Government has made road safety a priority and continues to work hard to deliver safer roads, support better technology and continue to work with industry.

Background

  • The ASTC is a project led by Seeing Machines, in partnership with Monash University Accident Research Centre, Volvo Group Australia and Ron Finemore Transport Group.
  • It aims to reduce fatal truck crashes by developing new vehicle technologies (telematics)The ASTC project cost was $6.5 million and received funding of $2.25 million from the Australian Government and $4.2 million cash and in-kind from project partners.
  • In 2019, 188 people died from 173 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks.
  • In the 2019-20 budget, the Government committed an additional $2.2 billion in funding over 10 years to improve road safety. Including:
    • $1.1 billion for the Roads to Recovery Program;
    • $550 million for the Black Spot Program;
    • $275 million for the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program; and
    • $275 million for the Bridges Renewal Program.