CANdrive – Automated Vehicle Trial

More than 30 Canberra drivers are participating in a world-first trial to improve safety in automated vehicles using Seeing Machines’ driver monitoring technology, an industry leading technology featured in the Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise system and now sold to four car companies including GM.


The ACT has a track record of embracing new technologies. Vehicle automation is progressing rapidly and promises many benefits for Canberrans. The ACT Government is investing $1.35 million over two years to support trials of automated vehicle technology; to prepare for the introduction of various levels of automated vehicles to our roads, and to better understand how these technologies can help improve transport outcomes for Canberra.

The increase in automation in cars promises increased levels of safety, but a key identified risk is driver inattention. The ACT Government CANdrive automated vehicle trial has been designed to collect driver engagement data in both automated and non-automated driving conditions. The project has helped Seeing Machines develop and validate its algorithms related to driver engagement and has demonstrated that driver monitoring can help mitigate the risk of driver inattention.

As a result, the ACT Government has raised the issue of driver monitoring as a factor in the safety of automated vehicles in its submission to the National Transport Commission’s call for comments on its draft regulation of automated vehicles.  Also, the ACT Government and Seeing Machines have discussed the importance of  driver monitoring with the Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP). ANCAP provides consumers with information on the level of occupant and pedestrian protection provided by different vehicle models in the most common types of crashes, as well as their ability - through technology - to avoid a crash.

Who's Involved?

The Automated Vehicle Trial Committee is co-chaired by Kate Lundy - Defence Industry Advocate, and Glenn Keys, AO - Chair of the Canberra Business Chamber.

The ACT Government entered a two-year research partnership with Canberra company, Seeing Machines, with the signing of a $1.2 million Deed of Grant in December 2017 to initiate CANdrive. Seeing Machines employs about 200 Canberrans and leads the world in the development of driver monitoring technologies that help make roads safer.

The Australian National University and University of Canberra have also developed Automated Vehicle trial projects closely associated with CANdrive which will be supported with ACT Government research grants up to $75,000 for each of the two universities, demonstrating the government’s ongoing commitment to supporting the growth of our universities.

Seeing Machines’ Funded Activity

The results of CANdrive will feed into the Human Factors R&D capacity at Seeing Machines and will directly support Seeing Machines’ technology based safety initiatives across multiple transport sectors and advance existing and new business activities with automotive OEMs globally.

Phase 1 Test Track Study

Phase 1 is a test track study to measure the impacts of semi-automated vehicle on driver state and behaviours. A test track provides an environment where driver behaviours and technology performance can be examined in realistic, on-road conditions whilst ensuring the driver’s safety and without risk to other road users. The trial will be conducted in different environments and under different road conditions and will focus on two main areas: Driver Engagement and Transition of Control.

(i) Driver Engagement

It is generally accepted that driver behaviour and attentiveness to driving (called driver engagement) will change when drivers shift between manual and semi-autonomous driving. CANdrive will explore:

● How driver attentiveness actually changes when driving a semi-autonomous vehicle; and

● Specifically, what novel metrics measured from Seeing Machines’ driver monitoring system can be used to differentiate driver engagement in automated driving?

(ii) Transition of Control

The transition from manual to semi-autonomous driving, and vice versa, is one of the primary safety concerns with the introduction of automated vehicles. CANdrive will probe the following:

  • What is the relationship between driver engagement and the quality (e.g. efficiency and safety) of transitions in automated driving?
  • How does driving mode (manual vs. automated) affect drivers’ performance with respect to distraction?

Examining the impacts of driver demographic factors and behavioural adaptation are also of interest here.

CAN Drive Duration

The CANdrive trial will continue until end of June 2019.


The CAN Drive Committee can be contacted at