NSW government to legalise driverless car trials

Government to amend road transport legislation

The New South Wales government plans to introduce legislation to facilitate safe and legal trials for connected and automated vehicles.

The state government said today it expects to introduce amending legislation this year to support trials of CAVs. The comments formed part of the government’s response to the recommendations of a NSW parliamentary inquiry into driverless vehicles and road safety.

The inquiry, conducted by parliament’s Joint Committee on Road Safety (Staysafe), last year recommended the development a national regulatory framework to “maximise the benefits and minimise the risks of automated vehicle technology”.

Automated vehicle technology has the potential to reduce death and injuries on NSW roads that result from factors such as driver fatigue, driver distraction, speed and inexperience, the report of the Staysafe inquiry found

The government today said it supported an Australia-wide regulatory framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) is currently undertaking work on developing a national framework for automated vehicles. The NTC is expected to publish national guidelines for automated vehicle trials in mid-2017.

The NSW government said that it has already begun planning for the economic and social impacts of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Transport NSW late last year released its Future Transport Technology Roadmap. One of its five key technology strategies is to enable connected and automated vehicle platforms.

“Significant investments have been made over the past five years in developing next-generation connected and automated vehicles technologies, supported by both new technology companies and vehicle manufacturers,” the document stated. The roadmap predicted that “autonomous vehicles will be a part of the future transport system”.

“A strategy is needed that enables the community to benefit from early adoption of these technologies,” the roadmap stated. “Trials and tests are needed to understand the technology systems requirements, the human response to the technology, and the safety and regulatory implications.”

At the federal level, a parliamentary inquiry is currently examining the social impacts of driverless vehicles. Telstra in a submission to the inquiry made earlier this year warned that compared to Europe and North America, Australia is lagging when it comes to initiatives involving connected and autonomous vehicles.

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