30 pilots needed for CAN Drive

Seeing Machines is seeking 30 test drivers to get involved in a new self-driving trial in Canberra.

The trial is designed to improve on the company's driver-monitoring technology, which currently features in the Cadillac CT6 (pictured). Rather than focusing on the car, it'll focus on how self-driving systems impact driver behaviour.

Dubbed CAN Drive, the project seeks to find out how driver attentiveness changes when drovers swap between fully-manual and semi-autonomous, assisted driving. The project will also look into what driver engagement metrics can be gained by using Seeing Machines' driver monitoring tech.

The third element of the test will investigate the impact different transitions between autonomous- and manual-driving modes have on driver engagement, and how easily distracted participants are in each mode.

This part of the self-driving puzzle has been thrown into focus after the death of an Apple engineer using Tesla's semi-autonomous Autopilot system. In a number of cases, the Silicon Valley automaker has faced cases where drivers ignored repeated warnings to retake control of the vehicle before an accident.

Although there are countless autonomous trials going on worldwide at the moment, Seeing Machines says CAN Drive is unique in its focus on driver engagement.

"The data we collect in trials such as CAN Drive is critical to advancing safety of communities all around the world," said Ken Kroeger, Seeing Machines chairman.

"Automated technologies are emerging across many transport sectors and it is Seeing Machines’ goal, through our driver monitoring platform, to help advance these developments with safety as the highest priority."

"The continued support of the ACT Government helps Seeing Machines sustain its leadership position as we develop our core technology to meet the needs of our partners, customers and stakeholders," he added.

Wannabe participants in the CAN Drive project need to be fully licensed in the ACT, and have no traffic or criminal convictions in the preceding 12 months. The study will involve a broad cross-section of age groups, and the organisers want participants from both genders.

The project is currently in the planning stage, with organisers sourcing cars and participants. It'll take place over two years, as part of a broader $1.35 million investment into testing and developing automated vehicles by the ACT Government.