The National Transport Commission released today details of a series of regulation changes related to autonomous vehicles that will roll out over the next two years - including removing regulatory barriers in Australian Road Rules and other transport laws that "assume a human driver".
Other rule changes include developing national guidelines to support automated vehicle trials, clarifying who is in control of a vehicle with different levels of driving automation and developing a "comprehensive performance-based safety assurance regime" for increasingly automated vehicles.
The goal is to have conditionally automated vehicles opertaing safely and legally on our roads before 2020, and highly and fully automated vehicles from 2020.
Chief Executive of the NTC Paul Retter said that removing regulatory barriers will maximise the benefits of automated vehicles, including improved road safety, freight productivity and reduced road congestion.
"Inconsistent rules, regulations and application procedures for automated vehicles are potential obstacles to deploying this disruptive technology in the future," Mr Retter said. "Our goal is to identify and remove regulatory barriers, and avoid a patchwork of conflicting requirements in different states and territories."
Australian transport ministers have reaffirmed the existing policy position that the human driver remains in full legal control of a vehicle that is partially or conditionally automated, unless or until a new position is developed and agreed.
These changes come at the end of a one year project to research the barriers to automation.