After gaining global recognition for making lives easier for mining truck drivers, Canberra tech company Seeing Machines is set to introduce hands-free cruise control for regular cars.
Seeing Machines is a provider of operator monitoring and intervention sensing technologies and services for the automotive, mining, transportation and aviation industries. According to CEO Ken Kroeger, the first mass-produced semi autonomous vehicles will be available to the public next year.
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“It will drive at the speed you set it, and if it can safely do so, will steer around cars in front of you,” said Kroeger. “If it needs help it will ask you to put your hands on the touch-sensitive steering wheel.”
The latest innovation will include tracking of road conditions, traffic density and lane markings in real time. If it’s safe to use the hands-free option, the vehicle will let you know by flashing a light.
The first cars with the new feature will be sold in the U.S. and China, and will be manufactured by one of the world’s leading brands.
A couple months ago, Business Review Australia reported how autonomous vehicles are helping mining giants Rio Tinto and BHP Billiton improve its operations.
Between Australia, North America and Latin America, there are currently over 4,000 trucks used in the mining industry equipped with hands-free automation. They’ve also proven to be quite valuable, as the machines have recorded over 100,000 occasions this year of a driver falling asleep at the wheel.
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Seeing Machines recently reached a deal with Caterpillar worth around $23 million for the rights to the mining and rugged industry systems, while about 45 per cent of the company’s workforce is stationed at its R&D Braddon heardquarters.
According to Kroeger, Seeing Machines’ next goal is to partner with Boeing and Takata to produce fleet trucks, passenger vehicles, trains, planes and consumer electronics.