[LINK] Autonomous vehicle trials to ramp up as national guidelines published
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Wed May 24 17:10:14 AEST 2017
> By Sophie Vorrath on 24 May 2017
> A set of national guidelines to support trials of automated vehicles
> on Australian roads has been published, in a first regulatory step
> towards the commercial deployment of “driverless” cars, and an era of
> new mobility.
> The guidelines – a joint publication of the National Transport
> Commission (NTC) and Austroads – support state and territory road
> agencies in providing exemptions or permits for trials, and give
> greater certainty to industry on conditions for trials.
> Released on Wednesday, they are the first stage of a reform roadmap,
> agreed to by ministers in November 2016, which aims to develop an
> end-to-end regulatory system for eventual commercial deployment of
> automated vehicles.
> So far in Australia, the South Australian government has been the most
> pro-active state in supporting autonomous vehicle R&D, last year
> becoming the first state to legalise controlled testing of driverless
> cars on public roads.
> In October 2016, it launched a $10 million grant funding round aimed
> at accelerating the development and rollout of autonomous and
> connected vehicles.
> And in January this year, UK-based autonomous transport developer RDM
> Group revealed plans to establish its Asia-Pacific headquarters in
> Adelaide, citing “massive demand” for creating autonomous mobility
> solutions in Australia.
> But Australia remains behind the global pace on the technology, with
> some 14 trials underway in California alone in the US by mid-way
> through last year.
> A recent report has predicted that by 2030, within 10 years of
> regulatory approval of autonomous electric vehicles (A-EVs), 95 per
> cent of all US passenger miles traveled would be be served by
> on-demand, autonomous, electric vehicles that will be owned by fleets
> rather than individuals.
> NTC chief, Paul Retter, said the new Australian guidelines were
> designed to be flexible and easy for industry to use, to support
> trials across the nation.
> “We have worked closely with vehicle manufacturers, technology
> developers and federal, state and territory governments to ensure our
> approach to trials is nationally-consistent and reflects best
> practice,” Retter said.
> “With a range of different environmental conditions, a receptive
> population and now guidelines for the safe conduct of trials,
> Australia has the potential to become a global testing and innovation
> hub for automated vehicles.”
> The two groups said that industry would have “enormous flexibility” in
> the type of trials that could be run, as long as they satisfied key
> requirements, including safety plans and insurance.
> Trialling organisations would also need to provide data from trials to
> road transport agencies, including details of any crashes.
> “This approach allows industry to innovate – they just need to
> demonstrate that they are managing the risks, including any risk to
> other road users,” Retter said.
> State and territory governments are also reviewing their exemption
> powers to ensure that they have appropriate powers to support trials.
> “We’re looking forward to the Australian public getting a first-hand
> view of the benefits of these new and emerging technologies,” said
> Nick Koukoulas, CEO of Austroads.
> The guidelines are available for download on the NTC and Austroads
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