Bosch granted approval to test autonomous driving tech in Victoria, Australia
Accumulating AUD$890mn in sales in Australia alone in 2017, Bosch is keen to develop its ties with Australia, strengthen its local economy and improve road safety across the country.
Following from the company’s $1.2mn joint investment with the Victorian government to develop the first autonomous vehicle in Australia back in 2016, the Victorian government has recently approved Bosch’s plans to trial autonomous driving technology on its high-speed rural roads.
The trials will enable the company to trial out the country’s complex infrastructure, high temperatures and various factors which will place significant stress, in order to improve its service delivery. At present, drivers have become five times more likely to be killed in a crash on Victoria’s rural roads than its city routes, The Guardian has reported.
The $2.3mn grant, awarded under Australia’s $59mn Connected and Automated Vehicle (CAV) Trial Grants Programme, is no surprise. The country launched its Automated Driving System (ADS) permit scheme in 2018, enabling users to trial out and assist in the development of new automated vehicles on Australian roads.
The programme, part of the states Towards Zero Action plan, has seen the government also invest in upgrading its road safety cameras following the growing number of cyber attacks on government led services.
“Bosch is a proud leader in vehicle safety systems and is eager to commence this trial with technologies that will show how we can improve road safety and reduce road trauma on rural roads,” commented President of Bosch Australia, Gavin Smith.
- Lotus cars are set to be manufactured outside the UK
- Volkswagen to open its North American EV manufacturing plant In Chattanooga
- Auto-mate; why automation can be a business’s best friend
"The trials will support Victoria's readiness for CAV technologies and the knowledge gained will provide a better understanding of the infrastructure required to get these vehicles on the road, maximising their safety benefits," Acting Victorian Premier, Jacinta Allan added in a recent statement.
"Victoria is leading the nation in the future of on-road technology and this trial is an exciting step towards driverless vehicles hitting the road," Allan claimed.
"The tragic fact is that you're five times as likely to be killed on a rural road than in the city. That's why we're rolling out a record roads investment in rural Victoria -- and this is another way we can improve safety and save lives."
Through the grant, Bosch will take its new Bosch TAC model to the roads. Similar to a Tesla Model S, it has been designed by more than 50 engineers, has world-class technologies embedded, such as artificial intelligence, a multitude of sensors, high definition GPS, and significant computing power which will enable it to tackle Australia’s challenging terrain. Two drivers will also be on board to ensure the safety of local communities.
The country recently revealed that it will soon establish an Office of Future Transport Technologies to support the ongoing demand and subsequent development of autonomous vehicles, whilst looking at ongoing cyber threats and the need to continually ensure its infrastructure remains robust and secure.
IMF: Variants Can Still Hurt Manufacturing Recovery
After a year of on-and-off manufacturing in the US, UK, and the eurozone, demand for goods surged early last week. Factories set growth records in April and May, suppliers started to recover, and US crude hit its highest price point since pre-COVID. As vaccination efforts immunise much of the US and UK populations, manufacturers are now able to fully ramp up their supply chains. In fact, GDP growth could approach double-digits by 2022.
Now, the ISM productivity measure has surpassed the 50-point mark that separates industry expansion from contraction. Since U.S. president Biden passed his US$1.9tn stimulus package and the UK purchasing managers index (PMI) increased to 65.6, both sides of the Atlantic are facing a much-welcomed manufacturing recovery.
Lingering Concerns Over COVID
Even as Spain, France, Italy, and Germany race to catch up, and mining companies pushed the FTSE 100 index of list shares to a monthly high of 7,129, some say that UK and US markets still suffer from a lack of confidence in raw material supplies. Yes, the Dow Jones has made up its 19,173-point crash of March 2020, and MSCI’s global stock index is at an all-time high.
Yet manufacturers around the world realise that these wins will be short-lived until pandemic supply chain bottlenecks are solved. If we keep the status quo, consumers will pay the price. In April, inflation in Germany reached 2.4%, and across the EU’s 19 member countries, overall prices have increased at an unusual pace. Some ask: Is this true recovery?
IMF: Current Boom Could Falter
Even as Elon Musk tweeted about chip shortages forcing Tesla to raise its prices, UK mining demand skyrocketed; housing markets lifted; and the pound sterling gained value. The International Monetary Fund (IMF), however, cautioned that manufacturing recovery won’t last long if COVID mutates into forms our vaccinations can’t touch. Kristalina Georgieva, Washington’s IMF director, noted that fewer than 1% of African citizens have been vaccinated: “Worldwide access to vaccines offers the best hope for stopping the coronavirus pandemic, saving lives, and securing a broad-based economic recovery”.
Across the globe, manufacturing companies are keeping a watchful eye on new developments in the spread of COVID. Though US FDA officials don’t think we’ll have to “start at square one” with new vaccines, the March 2021 World Economic Outlook states that “high uncertainty” surrounds the projected 6% global growth. Continued manufacturing success will in large part depend on “the path of the pandemic, the effectiveness of policy support, and the evolution of financial conditions”.
Mathias Cormann, secretary-general of the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) concurred—without global immunisation, the estimated economic boom expected by 2025 could go kaput. “We need to...pursue an all-out effort to reach the entire world population”, Australia’s finance minister added. US$50bn to end COVID across the world, they imply, is a small investment to restart our economies.