South Australia moves to make driverless car tests legal

State government will make testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads legal ahead of planned trial later this year

One of the self-driving cars being tested by Google in the US.

One of the self-driving cars being tested by Google in the US.

South Australia's transport minister, Stephen Mullighan, will introduce legislation to allow tests of driverless cars to be conducted on public roads.

The minister is set to introduce to the state's parliament tomorrow the Motor Vehicles (Trials of Automotive Technologies) Amendment Bill.

The bill will introduce exemptions to current laws to allow the on-road testing of driverless vehicles.

Driverless cars will be tested on South Australian roads in November as part of a trial backed by the state government.

"In July, when we announced that South Australia would host the first trials of driverless cars in the southern hemisphere, we sent a message to the world that our state is open for business," Mullighan said.

"South Australia is now positioned to become a key player in this emerging industry and by leading the charge, we are opening up countless new opportunities for our businesses and our economy."

The bill will require the state government's transport department to post a public notice a month prior to the trial and for a report to be tabled in parliament within six months of the trial's completion.

The South Australian test drive forms part of road research agency ARRB Group's Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative.

ARRB intends to back trials will in other states and territories.

The project envisages a five-stage plan to introduce driverless vehicles to Australian roads. Autonomous vehicles could slash road accidents and help tackle congestion, according to the organisation.

Volvo, Telstra and Bosch are supporting the trials, which will coincide with a conference on driverless vehicles.

A recent submission by Telstra to a federal parliamentary inquiry recommended that the government should undertake an assessment of the social benefits that would flow from mandating the use of autonomous vehicles, such as self-driving cars, on Australian roads.

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