MOVE Show Episode 3: Move The Car!

(audience applauding) – Hi I’m Stephanie Bendixsen
and on this episode of Move, we’re gonna hit top gear as we look at the future of the car. So, buckle up and let’s ride. (dramatic music) A quiet revolution is
taking place on our roads. Cars are getting smart,
really really smart. Arguably smarter than some world leaders? Driverless are now a reality. Test versions of Google’s Waymo are already driving around cities. It’s wheels self-steering like some sort of ghostly chauffeur. Turn left Spooky James. Now autonomous vehicles
have a long history, dating back to 1968 as
seen in the documentary Herbie the Love Bug, but it
could be less than a decade before our cars could be saying to us, “Hey mate, I’ve got this.” So kick back and check your smartphone and we’ll get you there
before your smartwatches ordered you a smart latte. Do we need cars being smart? The last thing you’d want is a car telling you what to do, right? Like you know, a reversing
camera or a heads-up display, or the old gauge? What we’ve already seen
is that driverless cars aren’t a cure-all for road safety. A series of accidents earlier
this year have suggested that the all-conquering
robots aren’t perfect. And there remain some big questions. For instance, will those cars
bring an end to road rage, or make it worse? If you cut off an autonomous vehicle, might it go all Decepticon on you? And what happens when
smart cars meet dumb cars? Do these educated cars,
these electricity-sipping sort of elite cars look down their bonnets at old fashioned Ford
Mustangs and tell them they’ve just gotta stop it
with their petrol guzzling and take charge of their own journey. And what’s the future for Top Gear? ‘Cuz I heard robot Jeremy
Clarkson is kind of annoying. Well, there’s no doubt that
we’re in a car-obsessed nation. Doing doughies in the
car park is a traditional Aussie rite of passage. However, like most of the world, we’re paying the price
for our car-obsessed ways. But will we be comfortable
with the alternative? We ask the person on the
street what they think about this revolution on the road. (playful music) – Giving up the car, it
might make a little bit of difference to the planet, but not an awful lot quite frankly. – Give up my car? To save money, yeah. – I think money. – Planet’s good too, I like it. – I’m in a wonderful
relationship and we do all we can to make our environment better anyway. – Our relationship. – Time I would say. If you have time, your relationships is going to be good as well. (electronic music) – So, to chat about this
new car culture shift, what our cars will look like and who will be behind the
wheel, if there even is a wheel. We’ve got a couple of experts who are driving the industry forward. So please welcome the
executive director of ADVI, the Australian and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative, Rita Excell. (audience applauding) And also welcome the organizer
of this 72 hour self-driving car challenge and CEO
of Teleporter, Ben Sand. (audience applauding) So trials and experiments
for autonomous vehicles have been going on for quite awhile, and I think we had over
20 trials in Australia with many more around the world. What do we think needs to
happen for them to actually roll out in our roads so
that we can be using them? – I think there’s prolly a few
things that need to happen. I would say that the cars will probably be about five years behind the trucks. So maybe look at what they’re doing first, taking over things like the highways. And once they’ve got that under control, we can start to get out to
more challenging scenarios like suburban streets. – So I’m trying to imagine how
this shift would take place. Does it mean that suddenly all of our cars would be replaced with a
fleet of autonomous vehicles? – I think it’s unlikely
that there would be a sort of a hard cutover. Maybe in some exceptionally
dense areas they’d create rules that you’d only be allowed to
use autonomous vehicles there just because it’s very challenging, but most of the time they’re
going to be cohabiting with other sorts of vehicles I think. – I think Australians
really love to drive. I mean I have a confession,
I can’t actually drive a manual car, but my partner
refuses not to have one. You know because he just loves driving and that sense of being in control. What does it take for us as a
nation to give up that control and the idea of being behind the wheel. – Well I think that might be a bit of, sort of a maybe false dichotomy. I don’t think just because
a car can drive by itself doesn’t mean it always will. You’ve got cruise
control that doesn’t have to stay on all of the time. So I really enjoy driving,
when I’m stressed out I like to go for a drive,
but there’s also times when I’m quite stressed
out because I am driving and it’s just a very
challenging thing to be doing ‘cuz of everything else that’s going on. So I think it’s sort of
more that we’re gonna have the choice, you know maybe when the roads are exceptionally congested,
there might be some benefit or reduced toll if you’re willing to have the self-driver take over. You’ll be able to connect with other cars so you’ll take up less space. Maybe you’d pay for the
privilege to be in control at that point in time,
but the rest of the time you can sort of do what you want. – Nice, and so Rita you’ve
been at the forefront of this world for quite awhile. You’ve even got a summit
dedicated to this new car culture. What makes enthusiasts passionate about the potential of
autonomous vehicles? – Well I think essentially
we have 128 partners, organizations that really
want to see this technology come to Australia and New Zealand, but come to Australia and New
Zealand in a coordinated way. And I think it’s really important to bring the community along with us. We need to understand
what their concerns are, but also we need to talk to them about the benefits of the technology. And essentially when you
talk about liking to drive and enjoying driving, we’re
really talking to people with a disability who don’t have access to driving their own personal vehicle. So we have to really understand
that this is not technology for technology’s sake, it’s
gonna have a benefit to society if we implement it correctly. If we let it happen organically, we’ll just get a consumer-driven
commercial outcome. What we need to have is
a coordinated approach so we get real benefits to
society from the technology. – And Ben you’ve seen first hand the work that goes into building
a self-driving car. Tell us about the different types of AV and I suppose the different
players that are involved in that kind of design. – You know there’s
certainly a lot of different companies that go into it. I think the good news in Australia is that we’ve actually got
a perhaps underutilized pool of talent that’s
actually very relevant to building self-driving cars. We’ve got a lot of mechanical engineers, we’ve got a lot of very experienced, in fact some of the best in the world. People at Machine Visions,
so these are the people that will take an image
and tell you what’s in it. It’s pretty obvious what
to do after that point. You don’t want to run
over things that shouldn’t be run over, and you want
to stay between the lines. But knowing where the lines
are and whether something’s a real person or just a cardboard
cut out is the hard part. And that’s what we’re
actually exceptionally good at in this country. So we’ve got a lot of
the really core skills. There’s certainly a lot
of other large players like Invidious done
exceptionally well on this. They’ve gone from 7 billion
market cap up to 120 billion over the last four years
‘cuz they supply the sort of the primary brain to
self-driving cars, if you like. A lot of great sensory manufacturers, Baraja locally is doing
exceptionally well, the laser scanners that help the car see. So I think there’s probably
more types of technology that need to come to together than almost any other
thing that goes into this. But I think as people in Australia, we should be really excited
about how we can contribute. And part of what we did
with the 72 hour challenge was try to show people who came from a mechanical engineering
or automotive background that self-driving cars
weren’t for someone else or another place, they’re something that we can actually get involved in. We have pretty much all the
skills and people from overseas, when they came to see what we’re doing, were so amazed they said,
“You know we work for a giant “self-driving car company
and they won’t let us “touch a prototype that
hasn’t been at least two years “in development, and
you’re knocking them out “in three days.” And I think that a lot of
people think it’s a lot harder than it really is, it’s
sort of just better lane keeping assistance,
better cruise control. It’s just sort of you just
keep adding little bits on, it’s not some giant new thing
that replaces everything. It’s just a little bit better
until it’s all the way there. – And do you see this creating different kinds of jobs in the
automotive industry as well? And what kind of jobs do
you think that looks like? – Well I think today marks five
years since the announcement that the auto manufacturing industry was pulling out of Australia. And instead of the gloom and doom, a lot of the smart expertise has resided and stayed in Australia, and
is working towards developing these new technologies. So I think we’ve shouldered that storm and there’s exciting opportunities. And a lot of the companies
that are part of ADVI essentially that were working
overseas in developing their technology in
Australia to sell overseas. And now they’ve got great
opportunities in Australia to do that at home, to
demonstrate their capabilities. I think that’s a great
thing that’s happened over the last period of,
in the last three years. – Well there’s certainly a lot more parts that go into a self-driving car. So someone’s gotta make those parts, someone’s gotta design them, someone’s gotta figure
out how they fit together. And I think that we’re exceptionally well-positioned to be doing that. There certainly will be different jobs, so people will need to be
willing to engage with that. But I do think they use far more of the current skills than people expect. What we found was that a lot of the people who work on the computer side of things just totally freak out when
you pass them an angle grinder and say, “Just go and put
this thing in and weld it on.” And so it’s actually sort of
from a mechanical engineer’s perspective relatively basic stuff that can drive this stuff forward. So I think if they’re willing
to kind of get engaged it can really go somewhere. – One of the biggest conversations around autonomous vehicles is safety. Do you think driverless
cars are absolutely more safer than humans driving? – Well we’re wasting
our time if they’re not. You know really that’s
ultimately we’re wasting our time ‘cuz if we had a perfect
system and we’re introducing something that’s less perfect,
then we’re wasting our time. So yes lot’s of people
can make lot’s money, there’s lots of investment,
but fundamentally the reason why we’re doing automation is about making people safer,
making the transport system operate better and more safely. So how much safer? I think that’s a debate that we’re having as engineers and practitioners. How much safer does it have to be before we allow them on the system? So that’s an interesting thing
and maybe the community’s best place to answer that question. – Now you mentioned
data, they are obviously collecting a lot of data. Naturally people would then
have concerned about privacies, is that something that can be resolved? – Oh look I think people
have different concerns about privacy, essentially
somebody my age group’s got a very different perception to somebody who’s a lot younger. And sharing your information
to get some benefit, I think most people are up for that. So let’s see what sort of
information we need to share and what benefit we get from it. And shows are already doing
that now with you know you opt in and you can get insurance for however far you travel,
what sort of a driver you are. So people are ready and willing
to share that information if there’s a benefit for them. Obviously for security and safety purposes some data has to be shared,
and we rely on regulators and the police to make sure that that data’s used for those
purposes to keep us safe. So I think the data sharing one is one that we need to work through, but there’s opportunities there
to share data for benefits. – Yeah, I guess from a
safety perspective as well it would probably make
me feel safer to know that some data was being shared. Particularly in a group
ride sharing situation of an autonomous vehicle, you already have the extra person there. So from the safety perspective
I guess it’s quite important. What does AV mean for
people that don’t drive? – Well as I said, we do a
public perception survey, it’s the most rigorous
scientific survey undertaking in Australia and New Zealand. And the biggest turnout
as positive feedback is people who are older and
people with a disability. In fact, we take for granted the right that we can get a license if we choose to, but people with a disability
don’t have that opportunity. So there’s almost about 30% more people that could be in the
transport system with AVs. And so when we talk about
jobs and loss of jobs, servicing that growing sector and managing how they access
and use the transport, there’s huge opportunities. But also as we get older,
there’s a lot of benefits in keeping older people
in the workforce longer, and sometimes the biggest barrier for them continuing to work is being able to get to
their place of employment. So I think AVs and even the
high driver assistance features can help people to drive longer and contribute to the economy longer. – Of course as well as
cars, driverless vehicles could also mobilize, even
revolutionize public transport unlocking new possibilities for mobility. What could that mean
for the daily commute? We set our reported Josh
Phillipps to find out. – There’s a new car culture
kicking off in Australia and while we may not be
able to afford the luxury of a Tesla when it comes to electric cars, it doesn’t mean that we’re
not going to be jumping on an electric vehicle soon
because there are already about 22 trials of autonomous
vehicles, or electric buses, going on in Australia. But when will we see on
rock up on our doorstep? I caught up with Andrew
from HMI Technology who’s been running an AV shuttle trial in Sidney Olympic Park to find out. – Hey Josh, nice to meet you. – Nice to meet you too. Absolutely, and welcome to the first autonomous shuttle
vehicle trial in Sydney. – Thank you, excited to be here. – Would you like to go for a spin? – I’d love to go for a spin. Let’s do it.
– Absolutely, take a seat. – Cool. – This particular fiber vehicle
does all of it’s navigation by very accurate GPS and
some sensors called Lidars. You can think of it sort
of running like a tram without the need for rails. The primary reason we’re
going down this path is for safety reasons. 94% of accidents on our roads
are caused by human error and by eliminating that
error, we can eliminate a lot of the deaths and
injuries on our roads. And that’s the primary
reason that we as a company are promoting automated vehicles, and that’s why worldwide
they’re such a big thing. – So if somebody was to walk
out on the road in front of us, what would happen? – The vehicle would stop for it, or slow down depending on how
far away the pedestrian is. If they’re very close, then
it will stop very suddenly. If they’re a fair way away,
then it will gradually slow down and wait for them to get out of the way. If they don’t get out
of the way, it’ll stop and eventually toot a horn at them. This type of vehicle
I think is well suited to what they call the first
and last mile of travel. We see that they can be providing travel from home to the station,
or from the station to office buildings
and that sort of thing. And the other obvious
application of these vehicles is in precincts like Sydney Olympic Park, like airport precincts,
like retirement villages, and these sorts of things to
provide a level of service for those people that they
don’t have at the moment. Moving forward, we can
replace one large bus with multiple small buses. Someone will still need to be supervising those buses in a control
room or something like that. So instead of one driver driving a big bus around the back routes of a suburb, you can have one operator
supervising remotely the operation of multiple smaller vehicles that’ll provide a richer
service to the public. – Well that was my first
ride in an autonomous vehicle and it was a truly surreal experience. And while I don’t think cars or buses are going to be eliminated
off our roads anytime soon, if you do see one of these
around in the future, jump on and give it a go
‘cuz they’re a lot of fun. And they’re gonna take you places you may not have thought you’d go before. (electronic music) – Well it seems that to change gear, we may need an alternative
that’s cheaper, faster, safer, and more reliable, and maybe even prettier
than we have today. Then again, if your car
knows where you need to go even before you do, then maybe we’ll all make
the leap a lot faster. That’s all we have time for, thank you so much to Rita and Ben. And thanks so much to you for watching. I’m Stephanie Bendixsen and
until next time, keep on moving. (audience applauding) (upbeat music)

2 thoughts on “MOVE Show Episode 3: Move The Car!

  1. driver-less vehicles need sensors all around them to keep it form colliding into pedestrians and other vehicles ect… what happens when these sensors get dirty? what stops the vehicle from crashing?

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