Driverless vehicles are the most obvious example of the current technology revolution in road transport, raising significant safety and liability concerns. Our industry partners, the Queensland and New South Wales state governments, have identified current and emerging technologies -- in particular those underpinning cooperative intelligent transport systems (CITS), as priority research areas for delivering more efficient and safer roads. It is a view shared globally that correct positioning of the vehicle is a fundamental problem for CITS and one that despite significant efforts remains unsolved for practical, mass-market vehicle installations. It is our thesis that to develop a practical solution that meets the stringent levels of positioning performance required for safety-liability-critical applications such as driverless and semi-driverless vehicles, both the in-vehicle technology and the supporting infrastructure needs to robust and resilient.

This thesis resonates strongly with our industry partners who are faced with supporting the rollout of vehicles and advanced technologies that are increasingly imported. The fundamental research question here is: is Australia prepared for connected and automated vehicles? In this project we will answer that question. We will address the challenges involved in: achieving the positioning accuracy required for the most critical CITS applications; assessing Australia’s preparedness for CITS rollouts that are developed in a non-Australian car manufacturing market, and finally defining the infrastructure that will mitigate against failure and assure trust – the so called integrity problem.

Recognising Australia as unique, we address the most challenging issues for high performance positioning, which, left unsolved will hinder the realisation of CITS benefits. Specifically we aim to:

  1. Study the positioning requirements for CITS that are fit-for-purpose. We will produce new, data-substantiated and science-based positioning guidelines for CITS which replaces the conceptual metrics in use today.
  2. Develop and evaluate models and algorithms for integrity monitoring in the context of CITS. This will include position and velocity integrity. Integrity in the “local area” – due to jamming/spoofing - and “wide area” – typically due to atmospheric effects and low resolution navigation data.
  3. Explicitly define the relationship between currently existing infrastructure, future needs, cost and performance, particularly for position augmentation and inter-vehicular communication.
  4. Deliver high impact industry focussed outcomes based on robust evaluation of our models and algorithms through industry-led field trials.

ACSER’s Kea and Namuru (an earlier model) are the only ‘flight-proven’, locally made GPS receivers in Australia and New Zealand. The advancements we’ll make, thanks to this funding, will ensure our GPS receiver is competitive with others on the market, which are currently imported. We’ll be able to provide local customers with improved devices at a lower cost than imports. There will also be potential to export it.

A range of Australian industries will benefit from improving locally owned and operated GPS receiver technology. Satellite and rocket operators will benefit from more accurate positioning of their platforms. Maritime operators will be able to plan routes more efficiently and safely. Satellite communications operators will have better measurements of space weather. There will also be various applications for defence related to passive radar systems.


Civil and Environmental Engineering