Seeing Machines, an industry leader in computer vision technologies which enable machines to see, understand and assist people, launched phase one of its world-leading automated vehicle trial, CAN Drive, supported by the Rachel Stephe-Smith MLA and the ACT Government, which has committed A$1.35m to the project.
CAN Drive, the first automated vehicle trial in the world to focus on driver behaviour, using the Seeing Machines technology, is getting underway at Canberra's Sutton Driver Training Track, testing how quickly a driver can be ready to resume control of an automated vehicle.
The Seeing Machines software monitors the driver's facial movements and expressions to determine whether they are paying sufficient attention and sounds an alert if they need to look at the road and retain full control of the vehicle.
"The ACT Government is proud to have formed an industry partnership with local company Seeing Machines to conduct this trial," said Rachel Stephen-Smith MLA. "Seeing Machines is leading the world in decoding the interaction between people and machines, as increasingly-automated vehicles are developed."
"Canberra is a progressive and growing city that has earned the reputation as Australia's testbed for innovative new technology and business models that can improve the lives of our citizens: we've supported Uber into our city, we're hosting world-first drone delivery trials, and now we're pioneering research to make automated vehicles safer," she added.
Seeing Machines is calling for Canberra drivers who are interested in taking part in the trial. Following this first phase at Sutton Driver Training Track, the trial will progress to phase two, where it is expected to move to Canberra's roads to study driver behaviour in real world conditions.
Seeing Machines Chairman Ken Kroeger commented: "The data we collect in trials such as CAN Drive is critical to advancing safety of communities all around the world. Automated technologies are emerging across many transport sectors and it is Seeing Machines' goal, through our driver monitoring platform, to help advance these developments with safety as the highest priority. The continued support of the ACT Government helps Seeing Machines sustain its leadership position as we develop our core technology to meet the needs of our partners, customers and stakeholders."
Reigning Supercars champion Mark Winterbottom will join BMW Team SRM for the Bathurst 12 Hour, along with DTM champion Marco Wittmann and Formula 1 and DTM star Timo Glock.
The three new additions to the squad will be spread across the two entries. Glock will join Tony Longhurst, Mark Skaife and Russell Ingall in the ‘Bathurst Legends’ entry. Winterbottom and Wittmann, meanwhile, will be paired with team boss and lead driver Steve Richards in the #100 BMW Team SRM M6 GT3.
Both Wittmann and Glock join through the team’s involvement with BMW Motorsport in Europe. Wittmann cut his teeth in Formula BMW in Europe before a three-year stint in European Formula 3. He returned to the brand as a GT driver and DTM test driver in 2012, before being promoted to a DTM race seat in 2013. Wittman went on to win his first DTM title in 2014, backing this up with a second championship in 2016 aboard the BMW M4 DTM.
Glock also started his career in Formula BMW, before a long stint in open-wheelers that saw him win a GP2 title and spend five seasons as a full-time Formula 1 driver. After leaving F1 at the end of the 2012 season, he joined BMW’s DTM program, where he has raced for the last four seasons.
Winterbottom joins the team as the reigning Supercars champion, having broken through for his maiden title with Prodrive Racing Australia last season. ‘Frosty’ and Richards have prior form at Bathurst, the pair teaming up to win the Bathurst 1000 back in 2013. His addition to the team takes the total number of Great Race wins across the two line-ups to 15.
“It's fantastic that we can announce three exceptional drivers are joining BMW Team SRM for our two-car assault on the 2017 Bathurst 12 hour. Frosty and I have past experience at Bathurst, and share a career highlight together with our win there in 2013. Since then has added a Supercars championship to his CV, so there’s no doubt he’ll help us be in the hunt for a great result in February.
“BMW Group Australia has connected us with BMW Motorsport in Europe to help facilitate the inclusion of recently-crowned DTM champion Marco Wittmann in our driving lineup. As a two-time DTM winner for BMW, and with his experience driving the BMW M6 GT3, he will bring a huge amount to the table at Bathurst.
“With Timo joining Tony, Skaifey and Russell, I couldn't have possibly asked for a better lineup for BMW Team SRM to head to our first Bathurst 12 hour with.”
“This is my first Bathurst 12 Hour, which is exciting. GT3 cars are obviously very cool to drive, and having all-professional line-ups in the top cars really makes it feel like a proper race to me. It’s changed my whole view on it. To have all these well-credentialed drivers going at it for 12 Hours, that’s going to be very cool to be a part of.
“Steve and I have had a lot of cracks at Bathurst together. We won together in 2013, which was incredible. That was the last time we raced there together, so we’re coming off the back of a win, technically. ‘Richo’ is easy to drive with, and working with him will make it an enjoyable week. It’s good when you know someone and you’ve worked with them before. I really enjoyed all the times we raced at Bathurst together in the past, and that was one of the things that made the decision easy for me.”
“It is very exciting for me to be making my first start at the Bathurst 12 Hour. I have never been to Australia before, so there are a lot of new things awaiting me. And I am really looking forward to them. At the moment, I only know the circuit from computer games. It is iconic, and it’s sure to be a lot of fun to drive. I can hardly wait to do my first laps there in the BMW M6 GT3.
“I already know the car very well from my GT outings at the Nürburgring and in Daytona, and hope that I can use my experience to help the team.”
“It is fantastic to be back racing in Australia after a few years away. I love the country and the people. I always travelled to Formula 1 races a week early, in order to do a bit of sightseeing. The Australian GP in Melbourne was my favourite race. I have not driven at Bathurst before, but the circuit is legendary. I am really looking forward to the challenge and my first race in the BMW M6 GT3. Hopefully we can get a good result for BMW and the team.”