Australia's transport ministers have announced new legislation that will allow automated vehicles to drive on our roads.
We are currently behind countries like the USA and China when it comes to adopting autonomous driving technology, and for a good reason. Current Australian driving laws lack adequate terminology when it comes to the use of autonomous cars. This means that no-one can be held responsible for both road rule compliance and accidents.
These new laws will change that.
"With automated vehicles, there will be times when an ‘automated driving system’, rather than a human, will be in control of the vehicle. We need a nationally consistent law to know who is in control of a motor vehicle at any point in time," said Paul Retter, National Transport Commission (NTC) Chief Executive.
On May 18 Australian transport ministers agreed that there needs to be a uniform approach across all states and territories so there will always be a legal entity responsible for driving when an automated driving system is being used.
The NTC has proposed the introduction of a uniform law that will:
- Allow an automated driving system (rather than a human) to perform the dynamic driving task when it is engaged
- Set out any obligations on relevant entities and users of automated vehicles
- Provide flexible compliance and enforcement options
The entire proposal is detailed in an NTC policy paper titled Changing Driving Laws To Support Automated Vehicles.
This new national law is due to be in place by 2020 and the NTC will be working closely with transport departments and road agencies in order to develop robust policy and legislative recommendations.
It's sure to be a hard road ahead though. This legislative announcement comes less than a month after the NTC released a video that explores the future of autonomous driving in Australia. Not only did it explain the need for regulations, but revealed that over 700 laws are currently in the way of autonomous vehicles in Australia.
'.The National Transport Commission has just released a video that explores the future of autonomous driving in Australia. It brings up some important points, and asks the question. would you travel in an automated vehicle?.'