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News Article | November 8, 2015

Volvo made history today by having the first on-road demo of a driverless car in the Southern Hemisphere. The company showcased the capabilities of its driverless XC90 in a demonstration that was held in Adelaide, Australia. Moreover, the car maker predicts that by 2020, driverless cars will be a regular sight on the roads granted that specific law reforms are implemented then. The event, which was held near Lonsdale, in a 7-km section of Adelaide's Southern Expressway, is part of the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) that is coordinated by the Australian Road Research Board (ARRB). "Our Government is providing the conditions for these trials to occur in South Australia because we recognise the immense benefits that autonomous vehicles and intelligent transport systems will bring to our communities," Stephen Mullighan, South Australia's Minister for Transport and Infrastructure says [pdf] on a news release. Driverless cars are being looked into to not only provide better fuel economy and less emissions, but more importantly, to improve road safety. In the demonstration, Volvo showcased its autonomous vehicle's adaptive cruise control, active queue assist and automatic lane keeping. Of course, granted that it was a demonstration, a trained operator was present to oversee everything. "This demonstration marks the first of a series of research and field trials nationally to identify and assess what needs to be done to make driverless cars appropriate in an Australian context," says Gerard Waldron, ARRB Group managing director. According to the Australian, which had a representative taken for a ride in the driverless vehicle, the autonomous XC90 was tested in the presence of a human-driven XC90 to see if how it adapts to changing conditions and the other vehicles around it. Aside from the journalists, Jay Weatherill, the South Australian Premier, was also taken for a ride by the AI-driven XC90. The politician commented that driverless cars can turn the page on Australia's transport system. Moreover, Weatherill wants Australia to be at the forefront of the AI-driven car industry, which is expected to be worth over $90 billion by 2030. Kevin McCann, managing director at Volvo Cars Australia, reveals that European researchers have already laid the road map for the driverless cars' introduction. However, for the autonomous vehicle industry to grow, McCann notes that legislation must first be amended.

Wang Y.,Monash University | Papageorgiou M.,Technical University of Crete | Gaffney J.,ARRB Group | Papamichail I.,Technical University of Crete | Guo J.,University of Western Australia
IEEE Conference on Intelligent Transportation Systems, Proceedings, ITSC | Year: 2010

This paper studies a control strategy that is applicable to local ramp metering in the presence of random-location bottlenecks (RLB) downstream of any metered on-ramp. With the support of Vicroads (Highway Department of Victoria State, Australia), local ramp metering in the RLB case has recently been investigated, aiming to design appropriate and practicable ramp metering approaches. A related control strategy has been developed and tested in macroscopic simulation, and this paper presents some representative testing results. This strategy has been incorporated into the coordinated freeway ramp signal control system HERO and will be applied in Melbourne in the frame of a large-scale freeway upgrade project. ©2010 IEEE.

Oliver J.W.H.,ARRB Group
Road and Transport Research | Year: 2011

Asphalt mixes require a minimum amount of bitumen binder to ensure cohesion, durability and a minimum level of fatigue resistance in a mix after it is placed. In the Austroads asphalt mix design procedure this is addressed by the requirement for a minimum binder film thickness value of 7.5 μm. This requirement was based on the results of field and laboratory investigations. The most useful evidence was the field performance of VicRoads' mixes placed with a range of film thicknesses between 1962 and 1975. Information on the film thickness used by VicRoads at a later period is also presented, together with the results of a laboratory investigation to determine the effect of binder film thickness on asphalt fatigue life. The separate effects of a change in binder content and a change in compaction on fatigue life were determined from these laboratory results. A further study showed that where increase in film thickness was caused by increase in binder content, the expected increase in fatigue life occurred. However, where the same calculated increase in film thickness was caused by a decrease in filler content there was no change in fatigue life. It was concluded that, based on the available data, the existing minimum film thickness requirement of 7.5 μm should be retained.

Muller W.,ARRB Group | Muller W.,University of Queensland
Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar, GPR 2014 | Year: 2014

An update on the development of a self-correcting method of calibrating pavement layer depths is presented. The approach is applied to multi-offset simulations of a forthcoming 3D noise-modulated ground penetrating radar (NM-GPR) system. The expected response of a series of wide angle reflection and refraction (WARR) datasets produced by this equipment is modelled for typical road pavement configurations using the finite difference time domain (FDTD) approach. As an initial step, conventional geophysical methods and layer interface tracking algorithms are used to determine approximate layer depths and bulk permittivity values from the WARR data. One of two self-correcting analysis methods is then used to refine the layer depth predictions. The first method, interface matching, involves adjusting permittivity values within a 2D ray-path model until the corrected depth of the tracked interfaces is consistent between adjacent WARR groups. The second method, ray-path modelling, involves adjusting assumed interface depths, gradients and permittivity values within a 3D ray-path model until predicted two-way travel times match that of the tracked layer interfaces. Both methods proceed iteratively, working layer-by-layer from the top and account for inter-layer refraction in the calculations. Potential advantages of these methods include continuous non-destructive calibration of pavement layer depths and more representative estimates of bulk layer properties, particularly for lossy materials and in situations where moisture, material or compaction gradients may be present. © 2014 IEEE.

Germanchev A.,ARRB Group
Road and Transport Research | Year: 2010

Route assessments for heavy vehicles on local government roads often consider conventional truck and trailer combinations such as B doubles. The two categories of trucks that must be considered by local governments includes conventional truck and trailer combinations and performance based standards (PBS) conforming trucks. The PBS scheme promotes better performing vehicles, offers the potential for higher productivity and safety through innovative vehicle design, and sets minimum vehicle performance standards to ensure trucks are stable on the road and can turn and stop safely. A new vehicle combination vehicle is assessed separately by PBS assessors prior to the vehicle being allowed on any road. PBS considers many attributes including maximum grade, speed on a 1% grade, acceleration capability and ride quality. When the PBS criteria have been assessed and the vehicle deemed suitable for the road, it is then commissioned by the transport operator on the level of road that it has been deemed appropriate for federal highways or local roads.

Choi Y.K.,ARRB Group
Road Materials and Pavement Design | Year: 2011

This paper presents a study into a simple laboratory assessment method of the binder shear resistance (as a key property on asphalt rutting). Based on a binder testing instrument called an "Elastometer" and a simple visco-elastic (Kelvin-Voigt) model, very different behaviours of bitumens and polymer modified binders were analysed. A range of binders comprising bitumens and modified binders (with a range of different polymer modifiers) were used to produce asphalt slabs and then tested in a wheel tracking device. A comprehensive correlation study was carried out and it was found that the shear resistance at low strains was closely related to the rut resistance. This suggested that a viscous property was a more important contributor to asphalt rut resistance. However, it was thought that, for highly modified elastic binders, the elastic property also contributed to the asphalt rut resistance. The Elastometer parameters were compared to parameters from other test methods with which non- Elastometer users are familiar. Of particular importance was the comparison of Elastometer and Dynamic Shear Rheometer (DSR) parameters which were derived from the same viscoelastic model. Satisfactory correlations were observed between corresponding parameters. This demonstrated that the use of the Elastometer for the rheological testing of binders (and the application of the rheological model) was a reasonable approach. © 2011 Lavoisier, Paris.

Martin T.C.,ARRB Group
International Journal of Pavement Engineering | Year: 2011

The deterioration of Australia's unbound granular pavements with a wearing surface of stone aggregate embedded in a thin bituminous binder seal is likely to increase with increases in axle loads due to the predicted doubling of the freight task carried by heavy vehicles travelling interstate over the next 15 years. Experimental pavement deterioration data gained from accelerated load testing (ALT) were used to derive relative performance factors for rutting and roughness deterioration for increases in axle loads. The ALT involved applying increased axle loads to test pavements in an enclosure that maintained a constant environment. The relative performance factors can be applied to the observed deterioration of pavements under known levels of axle loading to develop network-level road deterioration (RD) models that predict the influence of increased axle loads on deterioration. Several long-term pavement performance studies have collected observational data for this purpose of network RD model development. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Oliver J.,ARRB Group | Khoo K.Y.,ARRB Group | Waldron K.,ARRB Group
Road Materials and Pavement Design | Year: 2012

The phase morphology of SBS polymer modified binders was studied using a fluorescence microscope and dynamic shear rheometer (DSR). The morphology at high temperature was determined by rapidly cooling small samples, and thus 'freezing' the morphology in microscope slides and in DSR samples. As SBS binders are cooled from their manufacturing temperature there is an increasing tendency for a single phase structure (if one is present) to become a two-phase structure with irregular globules of SBS distributed in an asphaltene-rich phase. The morphology of field samples of asphalts and sprayed seals was also studied and shown to be determined, in the case of asphalt, by the relatively slow cooling rate of the binder during transport and compaction. On the other hand, sprayed seal binders cool rapidly and their morphology reflects that present in the binder at spraying temperatures. Thus the same binder may have different properties when used in an asphalt and a seal. It is, therefore, desirable to ensure that the morphology in specification test samples is the same as that in the field application of a binder. This may mean modifying sample preparation procedures. The compatibility of the bitumen used to manufacture an SBS binder had an important effect on morphology, with incompatible bitumens forming globular particles but binders made with compatible bitumens retaining a homogeneous appearance. Morphology appeared to have little effect on viscosity but could have a major effect on elasticity. Rutting performance is unlikely to be influenced by morphology since it has been shown to be related to binder viscosity. Fatigue testing of asphalt beams with different morphology binders suggested that morphology might affect fatigue life. © 2012 Taylor & Francis.

The Elastometer and the dynamic shear rheometer (DSR) are test devices that are used for binder characterisation in Australia and overseas. An inter-device correlation study was conducted to gain an understanding of the relationship between Elastometer and DSR test results. A range of bituminous binders (including bitumens and polymer modified binders (PMBs)) were tested using the two devices. The test results obtained using each device were then used to calculate a number of fundamental binder rheological properties using the Kelvin-Voigt (KV) model. Good correlations were found between the fundamental rheological properties obtained using both types of equipment. This allowed the parameters measured by one test to be expressed in terms of the other test. The study suggested that the DSR could be used as a possible alternative to the Elastometer if in the future it is necessary to characterise the properties of PMBs in Australia using a piece of internationally utilised test equipment.

Turner B.,ARRB Group
Road and Transport Research | Year: 2011

A workshop was held in association with the Road Engineering Association of Asia and Australasia (REAAA) as part of the 24th ARRB Conference, held in October 2010, to provide background information about the Decade of Action initiative. Another aim of the workshop was to discuss how those based in Australia were to usefully contribute to this new initiative in that country and globally. Several presentations provided information on the Decade of Action and existing activities relating to this effort. Rob McInerney, Chief Executive from the International Road Assessment Program (iRAP) made a presentation on the Road Infrastructure Pillar of the Decade of Action. Eric Howard, Road Safety Consultant made a presentation on the Road Safety Management Pillar and one of the key points included the need to build road safety capacity in developing countries.

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