EastLink News - find out more about self-driving and autonomous vehicles.

Self-driving & autonomous vehicles

We help you cut through the jargon


Hands-free driving will come to Australia, but it's not here yet.

In this email, we will cut through some of the jargon to help you understand the types of hands-free driving features that will be on their way to Australia in the coming years. We have also included some entertaining videos.

But first of all, it's important to remember that under current regulations you MUST drive with at least one hand on the steering wheel and be in full control at all times.

This means that if you buy, borrow or rent one of the latest vehicles that can self-park or steer itself to keep within a freeway lane, NEVER be tempted to take both hands off the steering wheel while driving.

There are different "Levels" of automation

To help everyone understand the different capabilities of vehicle automation and 'talk the same language', the car industry has adopted a series of "Levels" as an international standard.

You may hear some of these "Levels" mentioned in the news, in car showrooms or in conversations with friends and family.

"Level 0" - No Automation

In "Level 0" vehicles, the human driver is in control at all times, even when a specific aspect of the driving task is enhanced by technology.

For example, a vehicle with simple cruise control is a "Level 0" vehicle if the cruise control speed is set by the driver and remains unchanged until the driver chooses to change the setting or deactivate it.

Most vehicles you see on the road today are "Level 0" vehicles.

"Level 1" - Driver Assistance

In "Level 1" vehicles, a specific aspect of either steering or acceleration/braking are, under a limited set of circumstances, able to be undertaken by the vehicle. To do this, the vehicle uses some sensors to assist with the driver assistance feature.

The human driver remains in control of all the other aspects of driving at all times.

For example, a vehicle with dynamic cruise control is a "Level 1" vehicle if the vehicle automatically adjusts the cruise control speed to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front.

An increasingly large proportion of new vehicles on sale in Australia are now "Level 1" vehicles.

"Level 2" - Partial Automation

In "Level 2" vehicles, a combination of steering and acceleration/braking are, under a limited set of circumstances, able to be undertaken by the vehicle. To do this, the vehicle uses a range of sensors to detect what's happening around the vehicle, and in some cases can even read signs such as speed limits.

The human driver remains in control of all the other aspects of driving at all times.

These are the sorts of driver assistance functions that may be included in "Level 2" vehicles:

  • lane keep assist - where the vehicle makes small steering adjustments to remain within a freeway lane, and automatically adjusts speed to keep a safe distance from other vehicles
  • collision avoidance - where the vehicle steers and brakes to avoid a collision, for example with another vehicle, cyclist, pedestrian or animal.

Some "Level 2" vehicles are now on sale in Australia. It is believed that a portion of these may in the future be upgradable to "Level 3" via a software upgrade.

"Level 3" - Conditional Automation

In "Level 3" vehicles, in specific driving modes (such as freeway driving), all aspects of the driving task can be undertaken by the vehicle.

However, the human driver must be in the driver seat and is expected to quickly respond to any request that the vehicle might make for the human driver to re-take control.

Hands-free driving on freeways is an example of "Level 3" driving. The human driver will be able to activate hands-free driving once on a freeway. Once in hands-free mode, the vehicle will adjust speed to keep within the prevailing speed limit, and also change lanes as required. The vehicle would request the driver to re-take control, for example in advance of the end of the freeway.

"Level 3" vehicles are not yet available in Australia (and regulations will need to be made to allow it), however public trials will be underway this year, including Volvo's trial in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Watch this Volvo video to see a motorist activate hands-free driving on a freeway, and find out more about Volvo's trial of 100 "Level 3" vehicles, which will be conducted later this year in Gothenburg, Sweden.

"Level 4" - High Automation

In "Level 4" vehicles, the vehicle's automated driving system will be capable of driving an entire journey without the assistance of the human driver. However these vehicles will continue to include a driving position with full driving controls. This means the human driver can choose to drive in the traditional way.

In some circumstances, a "Level 4" vehicle may request the human driver's intervention, however the vehicle will continue to control all aspects of driving if the human driver does not respond to such a request. This may involve moving to a safe parking location.

Inside Uber's Self-Driving Car | WIRED
Watch this WIRED video to see inside Uber's self-driving taxi service in Pittsburgh, USA. The autonomous taxis operate in "Level 4" mode, with humans at the wheel in case of emergency.

"Level 5" - Full Automation

In "Level 5" vehicles, the vehicle's automated driving system will be operating permanently. There isn't a conventional driving position or driving controls for a human driver. The vehicle may even operate without people on-board.

Initially we will see "Level 5" vehicles following well-defined routes, for example shuttle buses serving university campuses, airports or industrial parks.

Australia's first public trial of a driverless "Level 5" bus is underway in Western Australia.

RAC Intellibus™ | Australia’s first driverless bus says thanks
Watch this RAC WA video to see Australia's first public trial of a driverless "Level 5" bus, underway in Western Australia.

EastLink trials

VicRoads, the ARRB Group, La Trobe University and EastLink are now collaborating on an 18 month trials program to assess whether the latest vehicle technology is compatible with current infrastructure such as road signs and line markings.

The trials will focus on testing a wide range of "Level 2" cars that require the driver’s hands on the wheel and which are already being sold in Australia (or will be released during the trials). Much of the technology in these cars, including sensors and control software, will be re-used for "Level 3" and "Level 4" vehicles, so detecting compatibility issues early will assist with the safe introduction of "Level 3" and "Level 4" vehicles.

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EastLink tunnels to close for maintenance

Overnight Saturday 18 February 8pm to 7am


This maintenance closure is required to maintain EastLink's high safety standards.

During this time, EastLink (including the Melba and Mullum Mullum tunnels) will be closed in both directions between Springvale Rd and Canterbury Rd.

Ringwood Bypass will also be closed in both directions between Ringwood St and Maroondah Hwy.

The rest of EastLink will remain open and won't be affected.

Monash Fwy outbound closures

Overnight Saturday 4 to Monday 6 February
1am to 7am each night


We have been advised of these road works, which are part of the State's Monash Fwy Upgrade project.

During these times, the Monash Fwy outbound carriageway will be completely closed between Heatherton Rd and Belgrave-Hallam Rd.

The closure is necessary to safely install bridge beams for widening the Monash Fwy over South Gippsland Fwy.

Female football is booming in the East


EastLink is a sponsor of Eastern Football League (EFL).

Female football in Melbourne’s East and Yarra Ranges is booming, with record participation on target for season 2017.

The introduction of the Eastern Region Girls Competition at junior level, with teams from both the Eastern Football League and AFL Yarra Ranges competing, has seen team numbers grow from 12 in 2015, to 37 in 2016, with up to 80 expected for season 2017.

Following on from this success and with the interest in female football soaring with the impending start of the AFL Women’s competition, a new senior women’s competition in Melbourne’s East and Yarra Ranges is starting.

The Eastern Region Women’s Competition will form part of the new South Eastern Women’s Football Collective, a joint initiative of the Eastern Football League, AFL Yarra Ranges, AFL South East and the Southern Football Netball League, established to manage and govern a large proportion of the previous VWFL divisional structure and apply new regional divisions.

Eastern Football League CEO Phil Murton said the growth in female football over the past few seasons is an exciting time for footy.

"With the huge growth in the Eastern Region Girls Competition in the last two years, more and more females are being attracted to the game and clubs, players and parents and all seeing the benefits of having young girls playing our great game in a club environment."

“With this growth, we need an expanded senior pathway for these girls to follow and the establishment of a senior women’s competition was the natural progression."

“With the management of senior women’s footy being regionalised, we believe the approach we are taking with AFL Yarra Ranges, AFL South East and the Southern Football Netball League has the potential to create a wonderful structure for the future growth of senior women’s footy."

To date 10 EFL and AFL Yarra Ranges clubs have expressed an interest in forming a new senior women’s team for 2017, to go along with existing female teams from Chirnside Park, Bayswater, Whitehorse, Knox and the Eastern Devils.

For more information on playing girls or women’s footy in 2017, contact your local club or the EFL at www.efl.org.au or on (03) 9762 5766.

Frankston Arts Centre

Davey Street, Frankston


EastLink is principal theatre partner of Frankston Arts Centre.

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Mario Lanza Sings Again

Fri 10 Feb @ 10:30am & 1:30pm
Frankston Arts Centre

The incredible life story and absolute hits of Mario Lanza, one of the greatest tenors of our time, narrated by Chris McKenna. Songs like Be My Love, Because You’re Mine, La Donna É Mobile, Strangers In Paradise and Drink Drink Drink are just some of the featured hits.

Details | Buy Tickets

The Everly Brothers & Buddy Holly In Concert

Sat 11 Feb @ 8pm
Frankston Arts Centre

For the first time in Australia, Rock n Roll fans will embrace and celebrate all the classic and No 1 hits of these three Music Legends. Magical sounds come alive again with Australia's award winning  duo, The Robertson Brothers.

Details | Buy Tickets

Tapestry - The Songs of Carole King

Fri 24 Feb @ 8pm
Frankston Arts Centre

On the 45th anniversary of one of the best-selling albums of all time, Carole King’s pop masterpiece, Tapestry was celebrated by two of Australia’s most loved vocalists in three sold out shows at the Arts Centre, Melbourne in August 2016. Iconic performers Vika Bull and Debra Byrne along with The Brill Band reimagined the songs of the “most successful and revered female songwriter in pop music history”.

Details | Buy Tickets

Oh What A Night!

Tue 28 Feb @ 8pm
Frankston Arts Centre

An exciting musical revue written by Independent Motown producer and creative consultant George Solomon. "Sherry", "Big Girls Don't Cry", "Walk Like A Man", "Can't Take My Eyes Off You", "My Eyes Adored You", "Working My Way Back To You", "Let's Hang On" and "Who Loves You" are just some of the many hits you'll hear from the dynamic songbook of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons.

Details | Buy Tickets

Donald Cant in Concert

Fri 3 Mar @ 10:30am & 1:30pm
Frankston Arts Centre

Donald's concerts have always been filled with his beautiful baritone voice, his humour, and great personality. Having travelled the world for a number of years singing in many concert venues, he returns to Australia with a new show filled with new songs and old favourites.

Details | Buy Tickets

Van Morrison's Masterpieces

Thu 9 Mar @ 8pm
Frankston Arts Centre

Vince Jones has set the benchmark for Australian jazz vocalist/musicians across a 20 album international career. His Celtic/Jazz/Blues influences provide the perfect blend for his reading of contemporary rock music's greatest works.

Details | Buy Tickets

Prize Draw Terms and Conditions

Competition entry is by completing EastLink's online customer survey.
There is one prize comprising $1000 cash.
Respondents to the EastLink Survey 2017 are eligible to enter the competition.
Employees of ConnectEast are not eligible to enter the competition.
Entries must be submitted by 31 March 2017.
Only one competition entry per person.
Random prize draw will be held at the EastLink Operations Centre, Ringwood on 7 April 2017.
Winner will be notified by email or phone and announced on EastLink.com.au.
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