CAN Drive – Automated Vehicle Trial

Canberra drivers will soon be invited to take part in a world-first trial to improve safety in automated vehicles using Seeing Machines’ driver monitoring technology, an industry leading technology most recently featured in the world’s first autonomous vehicle launch – the GM Cadillac CT6 Super Cruise system.


The ACT has a track record of embracing new technologies. Vehicle automation is progressing rapidly and promises many benefits for Canberrans. The ACT Government will be 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.

With the increase in automation, the role of the driver will change. For example, level 3 automated vehicles are already registered for use on Australian roads, but the driver is legally in control of the car. CAN Drive will help us understand when and why, from both a safety and a regulatory perspective, a driver should be in control rather than the automated vehicle, and help to manage the transition from one to the other with reduced risk.

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 CAN Drive. 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 CAN Drive 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

Seeing Machines will operate CAN Drive across two phases:

  • Phase 1: collection of data from ACT community drivers on the Sutton Road test track facility;
  • Phase 2: collection of data with specific details to be defined by 30 June 2018. Location of data collection will be dependent on regulatory guidelines around automated vehicles on Australian roads.

The results of CAN Drive 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. CAN Drive 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. CAN Drive 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 Participants

The study plans to recruit up to 30 drivers from the ACT community. The drivers participating in the trial will be balanced across different age groups and genders. All drivers will need to have a current valid full ACT driver license (not probationary). Drivers must have no traffic or criminal convictions in the preceding 12 months and must not be experiencing any medical condition that might impair their driving ability.

CAN Drive Duration?

CAN Drive will take place over two years and is now in planning stages which includes sourcing vehicles and planning driver recruitment.  It is expected that fully equipped trial vehicles will be on the road in early 2018.


The CAN Drive Committee can be contacted at