A year of success for AIMES – 2018 in review

By Melbourne School of Engineering

2018 has been a year of progress for the Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem (AIMES), a world-first living laboratory incubated at the University of Melbourne.

AIMES’ objective is to deliver a future where technology allows all transport customers to communicate and react to one another in real time. The AIMES ecosystem in Carlton is the largest inner-city grid of streets mapped with smart sensors, to accurately monitor the flow of vehicles, cyclists, pedestrians and public transport.

2018 AIMES in numbers

  • 50 partners
  • 215 smart sensors
  • 6 square km local and arterial roads mapped with sensors
  • 100 km freeways and tollways
  • 75 intersections

Automated Electric Shuttle Bus Launch (April 2018)

AIMES took receipt of an automated electric shuttle bus in April, part of a three-year partnership between the University and French automated vehicle provider, EasyMile. Licensed to carry up to 15 passengers travelling at maximum speeds of 45km per hour, the bus cruised around campus for its launch and has since appeared at various activities showcasing AIMES.

Professor Glyn Davis speaks at the launch of the AIMES autonomous bus

The University’s then Vice-Chancellor Glyn Davis mentioned at the launch, “Having our own autonomous vehicle at the University of Melbourne gives students and academics the opportunity to focus their research projects on real-life transport solutions to improve safety, sustainability and reduce congestion.”

Edge and Fog computing trials (July 2018)

AIMES conducted a world-first trial of connected transport technology at its testbed in inner Melbourne on July 11 this year. Globally, this was the first time an Internet of Things (IoT) Edge and Fog Computing solution ran on a roadside intersection. The Federal Minister for Urban Infrastructure and Cities attended the trial, which was conducted in association with industry and government parties included Cisco, VicRoads, Cohda Wireless and WSP.

The testing demonstrated real-life use cases for speed management, collision avoidance and vulnerable road user (VRU) protection. The trial was a pivotal step towards the prevention of traffic incidents without need for human intervention.

[I envision] a scenario where an intersection could know when there are dangerous conditions, such as wet weather or an accident, and tell cars approaching to lower their speed.

Professor Majid Sarvi, founder of AIMES, envisions“…a scenario where an intersection could know when there are dangerous conditions ahead, such as wet weather or an accident, and tells cars approaching to lower their speed.”

Over the year, a range of smart sensors including DSRCs, distributed roadside environmental sensors, VicRoads’ Bluetooth sensors and Cisco’s Edge Computing and Edge Fog Fabric network have been added to the testbed. By early 2019 AIMES will introduce a greater number of sensors to the grid including LiDAR, radar, smart parking and high definition image capture sensors for increased monitoring capabilities.

Professor Majid Sarvid explains the Carlton testbed at Edge and Fog computing trials

Read more about these world-first trials

Special visitor tours the testbed

AIMES welcomed Cisco’s global CEO Chuck Robbins in September. Robbins toured the AIMES testbed and watched the trials involving Cisco’s IoT platform in a demonstration using the automated shuttle bus. Robbins said he was “honoured” to partner with the University of Melbourne on “impactful innovation that solves real-world problems like citizen safety”.

Discussions on the future of transport and safety (September – October 2018)

Melbourne Transport Forum

The University and AIMES hosted the Melbourne Transport Forum: Connectivity, the future of transport featuring a panel discussion on innovation in mobility. AIMES is working towards a connected future to ease traffic congestion, promote safety and enhance sustainability. Scott Benjamin, Technical Director of Intelligent Transport at WSP lead an enlightening discussion featuring Anita Curnow, Executive Director of Access and Operations at VicRoads, David Bonn, Senior Solutions Architect at CUBIC and Claire Imray, Manager of Transport Innovation, Investment & Business at Transport for Victoria and AIMES’ own Professor Majid Sarvi.

Summit on transport safety in the era of digital mobility

Hosted by AIMES, the Summit on transport safety in the era of digital mobility brought together key stakeholders from industry, government and academia as well as leading practitioners in vehicle, driver and infrastructure safety. The summit focused on safety principles for connected and automated vehicle deployment, infrastructure opportunities, test beds and model deployments to support safety initiatives. The Summit included keynote presentations from representatives of The National Academy of Science USA, Cisco, the State of Michigan and The University of Melbourne’s Melbourne School of Engineering.

MoU between the Federal and Michigan State (US) Governments (October 2018)

AIMES played a key role initiating a relationship that lead to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed by the Australian Government and the US State of Michigan. AIMES acted as the conduit between the two governments, sparking interest in the area of connected vehicles. Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder stated the MoU “establishes a great partnership through which we will share research and knowledge between Michigan and Australia in the development and deployment of intelligent vehicle transportation to ensure technology and safety go hand-in-hand with progress”.

Signing of MoU between Michigan and Australian governments

The event was attended by Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack, who remarked that “over 90 per cent of crashes are estimated to result at least in part from human choices, so the potential benefits from sharing of expertise and experience between our two jurisdictions are enormous”. This international collaboration strengthens the links between AIMES’ work in research and that of Michigan’s Mcity and American Center for Mobility’s off-road facilities.

Sharing the vision of AIMES with the Australian public (October 2018)

Professor Sarvi was invited to publish an opinion editorial The Australian newspaper on October 24th, titled Intelligent connectivity proves king of the road. Professor Sarvi outlined his vision for the connected future smart cities will offer, writing that “objects that can perceive and respond to their surroundings will become the norm”. This connected future has the dual benefit of saving time and even lives by increasing the visibility of vulnerable road users such as cyclists and pedestrians.

ITS Australia highlights

ITS World Congress (October 2018)

The ITS World Congress held in Copenhagen provided a platform to showcase the work of AIMES on a global stage. The AIMES team created new connections with car manufacturers, emerging transport technology companies, and research and development groups from across Scandinavia, Europe and the UK.

ITS Australia Board of Directors (November 2018)

Director of AIMES Professor Majid Sarvi was elected by the ITS Australia membership to join the Board of Directors. He is the first academic appointed to the Board and is pleased to be joined by fellow AIMES partners Silje Troseth (Q- Free Australia), Dirk Van de Meersche (Cubic Transportation Services), Soren Tellegen (Kapsch TrafficCom Australia) and Dale Andrea (VicRoads).

Professor Sarvi says “It is a great honour to be elected by my peers in the ITS industry and to have the opportunity to contribute to the governance of this industry-leading organisation.”

Our partners and the year ahead

AIMES’ tremendous progress and continued success was only made possible this year thanks to the work of many partners and supporters. Special mention to AIMES’ founding partners CUBIC, PTV Group, the University of Melbourne, VicRoads and WSP. We look forward to strengthening and developing new opportunities for collaboration in 2019. In particular, we will welcome AEV Robotics to the AIMES family, as part of 2019 trials involving automated vehicles in the testbed. We also look forward to working with Yarra Trams and Toshiba on their in-tram technology incorporating public transport into the testing phases.

We are very excited to increase the number of connected intersections to 30 in 2019, adding several environmental sensors, smart optical parking sensors, LiDAR and smart cameras in early January. We look forward to continued work with ITS Australia to showcase AIMES and our partners at their local and international industry events throughout the year. Together at AIMES, we will continue to deliver on our promise for improved road safety, greater focus on sustainability and reduced congestion for all road users.

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