Australian governments are taking steps to move to a new era of mobility, with the launch of national guidelines for trials of automated vehicles.
Guidelines for trials of automated vehicles in Australia is a joint publication of the National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads. The guidelines support state and territory road agencies in providing exemptions or permits for trials, and give greater certainty to industry on conditions for trials.
Notably, NTC is an independent statutory body charged with improving the productivity, safety and environmental performance of Australia’s road, rail and intermodal transport system, while Austroads is the peak organisation of Australasian road transport and traffic agencies which works with member organisations to deliver an improved Australasian road transport network.
It is being claimed that the guidelines were designed to be flexible and easy for industry to use, to support trials across Australia. Industry will have flexibility in the type of trials that can be run – they simply need to address some key issues. These include having:
- a clear scope of operations,
- a safety management plan that addresses risks, and
- appropriate insurance.
Trialling organisations will also need to provide data from trials to road transport agencies, including details of any crashes.
The release of these guidelines is the first stage of the NTC’s reform roadmap to support the deployment of automated vehicles. Ministers agreed to this roadmap in November 2016, which includes a series of reforms to develop an end-to-end regulatory system for eventual commercial deployment of automated vehicles.