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INTERVIEW RICHARD MIDDELMANN, VITRONIC


roads soon, but that won’t remove the need for enforcement.” There will be many issues of compat-


ibility and safety and security for many years to come until, perhaps, the bal- ance is tilted 51:49 per cent in favour of autonomous vehicles. All the time those figures are anything like 10:90 per cent (or 0.005:99.995 per cent as they are now) there will be the need for enforce- ment. There’s good reason for the phrase “human error”. “Exactly, and what makes this ITS World


Congress so fascinating is that so many of the world’s top researchers into this topic are going to be presenting or at least in attendance. We’ve seen over the last 25-30 years the move from the develop- ment of core technologies within vehicles that are all the necessary building blocks that need to be in place to foster the move towards autonomy. “ Will there be the need for a sector of


the enforcement market that will deal with autonomous vehicles? “No, there won’t be any need for


enforcement all if all vehicles are auton- omous,” retorts Middelmann. “It’ll be superfluous because all you will be able to consider is if the software algorithms are appropriate and nothing whatso- ever to do with human behaviour. We are seeing an increase in autonomous vehicles on the open road and eventu- ally there will be autonomous vehicles on local streets, but until there are there will be human motorists travelling too fast for the conditions, ignoring local speed limits, and that will mean that there will be a need to enforce. There’ll be a need to enforce vehicles travelling through specific dedicated bus lanes, for example, or lanes that connect spe- cific suburban areas that are only per- mitted to be used by public transport, so the need to detect and enforce that becomes important.” In Vitronic’s company profile article on


pages 39-40 of this issue you will find a telling graphic noting the accident statis- tics of the company’s home country, Ger- many. Considering Germany’s dissimilar topography, and considering it’s just over


CONNECTED AUSTRALIA SUPPLEMENT


Rear end Crashes by type and region


4,856


Off path or out of control (on straight)


Off path or out of control (on curve)


Adjacent direction at intersections


Other opposing directions


Pedestrian 1,527 Manoeuvring 1,669


Side swipe or lane change


Head on (not overtaking)


On path Overtaking


Miscellaneous or unknown


307


441 396


165 Number of crashes  Crashes by type and region


half the size of New South Wales but has a population three times greater than Aus- tralia’s, it’s not difficult to put two and two together and imagine that comparing traffic accident statistics would make for fascinating reading. Sometimes two and two fail to make four, however. “They are different, yes, as fatigue


becomes an issue in Australia due to the long distances between urban areas and between our major cities. The big- gest issue, though, is driver attitude, and that’s human nature rather than anything


22


specific to Australia or any one particular jurisdiction. I would imagine that’s the same everywhere,” says Middelmann, nonchalantly batting away the question. “There are local effects but we still have


the same types of accidents, vehicles leav- ing the road, losing control, impacting pedestrians, rear-ending other vehicles or travelling in an ‘inappropriate direction’… you get all those types of accidents in Aus- tralia and Germany, although the distribu- tion of them might be a little different.” A little different, a lot alike. ●


www.thinkinghighways.com 4,613 791 1,880 2,321


1,145 1,249


Metropolitan County


4,262 1,453 6,284 4,335 9,915 9,656 4,255 7,136 7,567 7,814


 Mobile, in-car enforcement can detect changes in driver behaviour


17,825


Source: Transport for New South Wales


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