ethel Back in February, word of our little project with UNSW hit the newsstands. The response to the public launch was overwhelming! The future of the car-sharing industry is here and we’re putting some big ideas into action. If you missed the press release a few months ago, here it is again…. We’re engineering the driverless car.

Kick back and Relax:

Do you dream of the day when your GoGet car will pick you up and navigate the busy streets for you while you kick back and read the morning newspaper? Well, that day might be closer than you think! We have teamed up with UNSW on a research project on driverless cars and we now have a self-driving research vehicle in our fleet. While Ethel the Yaris is not quite ready to lose her L-plates and take control of the wheel, she does have some hi-tech equipment that is certain to help make autonomous driving a reality someday soon. The partnership between the University of NSW and GoGet was launched at the GeoNext technology conference at Australian Technology Park in February. ‘Ethel’ the Yaris has been kitted out with four radar sensors, a video camera and a small on-board computer to research how human drivers treat their cars. This is the first move by any company in Australia, towards making driverless cars a reality.

Safety first:

Director of the UNSW Research Centre for Integrated Transport Innovation (rCITI) Vinayak Dixit said prior to February’s public launch; “We’re getting information about how people drive and how they interact with different moving entities as well as other infrastructure. This information is extremely useful when you’re trying to develop algorithms for autonomous driving.” The car will gather data the researchers say will make cars more efficient and less prone to accidents, ultimately saving lives. We believe this advanced autonomous driving algorithm that could see a new breed of self-driving cars land on Australian shores within 10 years.

Realtime insurance, incentives and rewards:

Also under consideration is the prospect of measuring drivers’ behaviour and comparing it against the baseline so that those whose driving is identified as better than average can be rewarded by GoGet. By gathering data based on human behaviour in and around vehicles, real-time insurance, rates will depend on how drivers are driving at that moment. The theory is that safe drivers — as determined from data captured by the vehicle — would be rewarded by paying less for their insurance. Such applications could, Dixit feels, give drivers greater incentive to behave safely than conventional policing and road safety information campaigns.

The future in Car Sharing innovation:

This will succeed if operators could get them to work, if governments approved them for fleets and if their touted benefits were actually proven on a mass scale. However, for now, the concept is only motoring around the university grounds. An essentially autonomous car is against the law in Australia right now, simply due to the fact that no laws presently exist to govern a car with no driver. We hope that soon this will be amended. Google has been testing driverless cars in the US for several years. Also Audi and Toyota have been engaging in projects similar to this. The US state of Nevada, has already passed legislation allowing the operation of autonomous cars in the state, and Florida and California have followed.


“One day there’s going to be a container ship arrive on a dock somewhere in Sydney and there’s going to be 300 self-driving cars drive out of it. And instead of [GoGet] being behind that we want to be in front of that. The day that ship arrives is the day everything changes.”

Nic Lowe, GoGet co-founder