Govt should seek consistent driverless vehicle rules: Report

Emerging federal, state and territory regulations should be harmonised, Senate inquiry says

Modified Volvo XC90s were used for the recent South Australian demonstration of driverless car technology.

Modified Volvo XC90s were used for the recent South Australian demonstration of driverless car technology.

A parliamentary committee has recommended that the federal government, through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), work to ensure the harmonisation “of emerging federal, state and territory legislation and regulations designed to deal with the arrival of autonomous vehicles and driving systems”.

The recommendation was included in the final report of the Senate inquiry into the future of Australia’s automotive industry.

The report of the Senate’s Economic References Committee was tabled today.

During its inquiry, the committee heard evidence from the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI), which earlier this year oversaw the first tests of driverless cars on public roads in Australia.

ADVI is spearheaded by road research agency ARRB Group, whose 11 members include all the state and territory road agencies, the New Zealand Transport Agency, the Local Government Association and the federal Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

The South Australian test drives were backed by Volvo, Telstra and Bosch.

The tests involved modified Volvo XC90s, and were made possible by South Australian legislation.

Potential advantages of autonomous vehicle technology include fuel efficiency, productivity, reduced carbon emissions and safety, Volvo Australia’s managing director, Kevin McCann, told a 1 October hearing of the inquiry in Adelaide.

Over the period from 2016 to 2019, ADVI plans to stage around eight demonstrations in Australia, beginning with the test drives last month in South Australia.

The South Australian government believes there is potential for the state to participate in the manufacture of components for driverless vehicles.

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