Australia, Transport News, Truck Technology

WA introduces custom driving simulator for road safety

The WA government has released its one-of-a-kind driving simulator that will help make the state’s roads safer in the future

The Western Australian government has unveiled a new high-tech driving simulator in a bid to help make the state’s roads safer.

The new government-funded custom-made driving simulator is set to help University of Western Australia researchers make roads safer.

Based at the UWA’s Western Australian Centre for Road Safety Research, the simulator is the only of its kind in the world and will allow researchers to test the safety of new road designs.

The simulator will give the industry the chance to test new road layouts, assess driver distraction from roadside advertising, study at-risk groups such as younger and older drivers and test the impact of the use of drugs, fatigue and alcohol on driving skills.

The simulator has been jointly funded by the Road Safety Commission, who contributed $450,000, Main Roads WA ($160,000) and UW ($100,000).

“We are investing more than a billion dollars in key road safety initiatives like the Regional Road Safety Program, but funding new technology is another way we can help to reduce the number of people killed and seriously injured on our roads,” WA transport minister Rita Saffioti says.

“This technology will help us to better plan our road network by allowing us to test new designs in a simulated environment.

“Testing new road initiatives before they are implemented will save both time and money, enabling us to mitigate risks and cost effectively utilise our resources to make Western Australian roads safer and more efficient.”

The simulator will allow researchers across multiple disciplines, including road safety, engineering, ophthalmology, psychology, physiology and mathematics to collaborate.

It will also be adaptable, repeatable for standardisation, easy to collect data and safe from any physical harm.

“Reducing trauma on our roads requires a sophisticated mix of initiatives including better roads and road layouts, safer cars and changing driver behaviour,” WA road safety minister David Michael.

“The Road Safety Commission takes a research-based approach to tackling these issues and this is why we have partnered with UWA’s Road Safety Research Centre.

“I believe this technology has the potential to make a real difference to long term positive road safety outcomes in Western Australia.”

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