Bosch will later this year test its self-driving Tesla Model S on rural roads in Victoria, as it looks to refine its autonomous technology in a new environment.
Backed by $2.3 million in government funding and the first autonomous driving permit granted in Victoria, the trial kicks off "late in 2019" on country highways.
According to the Acting Premier, Jacinta Allan, the trial is part of a plan to look "at new technology, and how new technology can be deployed to improve road safety" in Victoria.
"I'd like to congratulate the team that's been working on this," she said, flanked by senior Bosch and TAC figures.
Although it was today announced by the Acting Premier, details about the trial are limited at best. The minister, along with representatives from Bosch and the TAC, provided no information about which roads will be used for the tests, nor a firm start date when pressed.
Central to the trial is a Tesla Model S, previously used to test world-first GPS technology technology around Albert Park lake in Melbourne, backed by $2 million in funding from the Australian government. It's also been featured in self-driving trials on Citylink in Melbourne.
Chris Woods, Bosch Australia regional president for chassis systems control, said the car being prepped for the rural trials has evolved a long way since its first appearance in 2016, with smarter sensors and quicker on-board computers contributing to its wider range of capabilities.
It's been developed by a team of 70 engineers in Victoria. There will always be two safety drivers on board the car during the rural trial: one to monitor the road, and another to keep an eye on the operation of the self-driving systems.
"Bosch is a proud leader in vehicle safety systems and is eager to commence this trial with technologies that will show how we can improve road safety and reduce road trauma on rural roads," said Gavin Smith, Bosch Australia president.
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