ACT govt to help fund driverless car trials

Government will partner with private and university sector for trials

The ACT government has revealed it plans to support testing autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technology in the territory.

The ACT budget, handed down today, earmarks $1.35 million over two years, beginning in 2017-18, to support a trial.

“The Government will partner with the private and university sectors to build expertise in autonomous and semi-autonomous vehicle technology in the Territory,” budget documents state.

The budget also notes that over the next 12 months the territory’s compulsory third party insurance regulator plans to work with other CTP regulators on possible changes to CTP legislation to support the introduction of autonomous vehicles.

Last month the National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads jointly released national guidelines for trials of automated vehicles on Australian roads.

The guidelines note that in Australia, vehicles cannot legally operate in highly or fully automated driving mode on public roads. Organisations that seek to stage trials requiring authorisation from state or territory road transport agencies.

The guidelines are intended to provide a nationally consistent approach to trials while also providing enough flexibility to apply to a range of automated vehicle technologies.

A number of on-road trials of autonomous vehicles have been staged in Australia.

In 2015, South Australia was the site of the first tests of driverless cars on public roads. Last year Perth hosted the trial of a fully driverless shuttle bus, the RAC Intellibus.

In March this year the New South Wales government said it planned to introduce legislation to facilitate safe and legal trials for connected and automated vehicles.

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