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 Australia’s national road network

multicultural and cite two examples – firstly we play four different codes of football around the country (the only one missing is American football), including a unique game started in Victoria called Australian Rules football – 18 players per side, no offside rule and played on an elliptical (cricket oval in summer) pitch with four goal posts at each end! The other proof of multiculturism here

is we have four different rail gauges all in use in some parts of the country. Some rationalisation has occurred but connec- tivity is still very low. As a teenager I trav- elled home by train at end of term and it took two and half days including chang- ing trains at the border between New South Wales and Victoria as then they used different rail gauges!

IN IT FOR THE LONG-HAUL So getting back to ITS, most of the peo- ple designing and building roads have come from a civil engineering back- ground, but there were exceptions such as the innovative Sydney Coordinated Adaptive Traffic System (SCATS) and more recent extensions of that model. In the field of transport information

and communications technology (ICT), the ubiquitous WiFi was invented by the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO),

 Australia’s national rail network

but as was often the case, commercialisa- tion of WiFi was pursued elsewhere. At least CSIRO has been recouping royalties from their work. I mention this because Vehicle-to-

Vehicle (V2V) wireless communications is moving towards adoption of the IEEE 802.11p standard that is an extension of the basic WiFi to provide the Quality of Service (QoS) necessary for safety-critical applications such as collision avoidance.

National Transport Commission and ITS Australia. However this work is mainly fol- lowing applications for vehicles approved for city traffic, cars, buses, trucks and semi- trailers. A better approach would instead be to address the long-haul freight task mentioned earlier, especially for the road trains only used in remote areas and not permitted in larger cities. In Australia we have innovatively used driverless vehicles by international min-

“In Australia we should avoid the reinvention of the wheel... Instead we should be looking for the competitive advantage bestowed on us by the work already underway, and the extraordinary opportunity presented by the road freight task”

Cohda Wireless, an Australian spin-off from the Institute of Telecommunications Research at the University of South Aus- tralia, is a widely used developer of wire- less systems to this standard. The growing interest in driverless

vehicles, following the now familiar five- stage process of increasing automation, is being pro-actively addressed by the peak bodies in Australia, including Austroads,


ing company Rio Tinto at its open cut iron ore mines in Western Australia. Driverless vehicles are used in container terminals on the east coast to shift and stack con- tainers. These applications were devel- oped by the Australian Centre for Field Robotics at The University of Sydney but have not been extended to public road operations such as Google’s driverless cars have in the US. Other relevant R&D


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