Projects highlight new risks associated with automated vehicles, animal disease

Published:

Dr Gemma Read

The rise of autonomous vehicles in Australia could lead to new kinds of road crashes, a USC researcher has suggested in a new national booklet celebrating women in science.

Dr Gemma Read from USC’s Centre for Human Factors and Sociotechnical Systems is midway through her three-year investigation of how autonomous vehicles might interact with traditional vehicles and vulnerable road users.

Her research features in a Regional Universities Network booklet on Women in Science, Technology and Engineering in Regional Australia alongside USC microbiology researcher Dr Martina Jelocnik.

The booklet showcases examples of the important and rewarding contributions that women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) careers are making in regional communities.

“I’m focused on the unintended consequences associated with how people behave around autonomous vehicles, given that they will behave in a risk-averse way,” Dr Read said.

“We need to think about how these technologies will be integrated within our road system, which often relies on social interactions such as eye contact at roundabouts.” 

She said initial modelling, developed with colleagues at the University of Melbourne and USC, suggested new sorts of crashes might arise during the transition period as people learned about the responses of autonomous vehicles, and exploited their in-built risk aversion.

“There’s that argument that we might make it so safe that people assume safety and take less care for their own safety,” Dr Read said.

“If autonomous vehicles do behave flawlessly and they detect a cyclist pulling out in front of the vehicle, they will always stop to prevent an accident. That’s fantastic, but what does the cyclist learn? The cyclist learns that this type of vehicle doesn’t pose a threat to them anymore. In a congested city, this could lead to gridlock.”

Dr Jelocnik from USC’s GeneCology Research Centre also features in the booklet for her work on chlamydial infections in Australian animals. 

She provided the first epidemiology investigation which shows the extent of chlamydial infections in Australian sheep and cattle, and more recently on the first cases of chlamydia in horses and the risk that they pose to human health. 

“Chlamydia has the capacity to spill over to us and to make us sick. We want to know as much as we can. First, to inform the general public to protect their health and, second, that we protect domesticated animals and wildlife,” Dr Jelocnik said.

Dr Jelocnik has also been developing rapid diagnostic tests to better protect veterinarians, livestock and native wildlife from chlamydia.

She is part of the USC Chlamydia research group that is working on a promising koala chlamydia vaccine.

“Although it seems that chlamydia is everywhere, there is still so much more that we need to learn. It is a very exciting time for chlamydia research in Australia” she said.

USC’s Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Innovation) Professor Roland De Marco said both researchers hold competitive and prestigious discovery early career fellowships provided by the Australian Research Council. 

“Dr Read and Dr Jelocnik are national and international research leaders, contributing strongly to their associated existing research strengths at USC, and we are thrilled to see them recognised in a national publication,” Professor De Marco said.

The full Regional Universities Network Women in Science, Technology and Engineering in Regional Australia publication is available online at http://www.run.edu.au/RUN-Women-in-STEM-2019
 

 
Community Law & Safety Science & Research University & TAFE
Social:   

University Of The Sunshine Coast : View Full Profile
90 Sippy Downs Drive, Sippy Downs
07 5430 1234
University Of The Sunshine Coast
Showing 10+ recent articles for this business
Oldest Red-tailed Tropicbird found on reef island 05 August 2020 | USC researchers have found what could be the oldest known breeding individual of one of the world’s most elusive seabirds on Lady Elliot Island, at the southern end of the Great Barrier Reef. More information...
Graduate on cutting edge of respiratory testing in UK 04 August 2020 | USC Biomedical Science graduate Kellie Strickland had to pinch herself when she landed in England in September last year to take up a respiratory physiologist position at the Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmo... More information...
Identical twins cater to nutrition needs of Lightning 03 August 2020 | Identical twin sisters with USC Nutrition and Dietetics degrees are working to boost the power performances of Sunshine Coast Lightning players this season. More information...
USC research projects attract $2M in ARC funding 30 July 2020 | Associate Professor Sandy O’Sullivan will receive $1 million to study and map the complex identities of First Nations peoples; and Associate Professor Celine Frere will receive nearly $970,000 to help protect... More information...
High-tech skills give graduate winning edge 28 July 2020 | Specialising in geospatial science at university has helped a USC graduate gain a coveted award at a leading international design, engineering and science consultancy. More information...
USC’s new campus wins construction award 27 July 2020 | USC’s new state-of-the-art campus at Moreton Bay, which has attracted 1,800 students since opening in February, has just been recognised with a top construction award. More information...
Researchers gear up for cycling safety project 22 July 2020 | Research is now underway at USC that could lead to a much better understanding of the risks facing cyclists on our roads and what’s required to improve their safety. More information...
USC's prescribed burn postponed to 30 July 22 July 2020 | The prescribed burn planned for heathland at USC tomorrow (Thursday 23 July) has been postponed due to wet weather. More information...
Development endangers world’s largest mangrove forest 21 July 2020 | A scientist from USC Australia has raised concerns that the world’s largest mangrove forest – the Sundarbans in Bangladesh – could be under threat from a major development. More information...
Sports champions encourage next generation 20 July 2020 | Three USC High Performance Student Athletes who benefited from the encouragement of others as they powered to success are leading an initiative to do the same for other young competitors and school students. More information...


comments powered by Disqus

All articles submitted by third parties or written by My Sunshine Coast come under our Disclaimer / Terms of Service