​SA government, ARRB Group to test Volvo driverless cars on Adelaide roads

The newly-released Volvo XC90 will be tested as part of a driverless car trial the South Australian government and the ARRB Group will be running in November.

The South Australian government together with the national independent road research agency ARRB Group have announced driverless cars will be tested on Adelaide roads in November 2015.

As part of the ARRB's Australia Driverless Vehicle Initiative, the independent agency will run trials and demonstrations on the Southern Expressway at Tonsley Innovation Park, and at Adelaide Airport to test the self-driving and self-parking functionality of the newly released Volvo XC90.

ARRB group managing director Gerard Waldron said it is working with partner organisations, including Telstra and Bosch, to establish during the trial how driverless cars need to be engineered and manufactured to suit Australian driving behaviour, climate, road conditions, road infrastructure, markings, surfaces, and roadside signage.

"Driverless cars have a range of benefits that could significantly improve road safety and the quality of life of everyday Australians, add to the nation's economic competitiveness and help relieve rapidly growing congestion that is crippling our infrastructure and creating productivity deficits in our capital cities," he said.

"We're seeking technology and automotive industry partners to assist us in Australia's driverless vehicle innovation."

Telstra CTO Vish Nandlall said being involved in the trial will allow the company to see how its technologies can be used in the autonomous car industry.

"We look forward to working with ARRB and seeing how we can use our technology and networks expertise to help make autonomous vehicle use in Australia a reality," he said.

ARRB said the trials in South Australia will be first of many trials nationally, with discussions currently underway with other Australian state governments.

The trial will put Australia on the map of countries testing driverless cars. In July 2014, autonomous vehicles received the green light from the UK government. Prior to that, China, and Nevada in the US were also testing driverless cars on their roads.

Volvo is not the only car maker diving into the driverless car market. Tesla reported it was going to soon launch semi-autonomous features in its cars -- including the Model S sedan -- which make use of driverless technology. Nissan announced it will be adding semi-autonomous features to its cars by 2020.

But the most prominent player in the autonomous car market is Google, which recently admitted that its self-driving cars have been involved in 11 accidents in the past six years, but said all collisions were caused by other drivers.