ITS Australia calls for clearer regulation of autonomous vehicles

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Susan Harris, CEO of ITS Australia, has called for more government support for on-road trials of autonomous vehicles and harmonization of confusing and conflicting legislation surrounding the technology.

Her comments come following the findings of Australia’s National Transport Commission (NTC) discussion paper Regulatory Options for Automated Vehicles, which was released last week (ends May 13) and which found a total of 716 potential legislative barriers to driverless vehicles. 

With the development of automated vehicles increasing rapidly, the NTC’s discussion paper also highlighted the great advancements that will be made in industry, business and the overall economy if we can remove current regulatory barriers and adopt a nationally consistent approach to support broader trials and appropriate take up.

“While still at an early stage of implementation, automated vehicles are already having a significant impact on markets, public policy and the community, and soon, we won’t know an industry without them,” said Harris (right). “ITS Australia supports harmonization of Australian regulations to ensure vehicles, people and freight can travel freely between states. Disjointed state laws will lead to confusion, more risks on the road and barriers to movement.”

“In particular, ITS Australia supports the call for more government support of on-road trials. This is an opportunity for Australia to provide a sensible regulatory environment that attracts global automated vehicle trials, supporting Australian technology and resulting in shared learning for the Australia’s ITS industry and broader community,” says Harris.

ITS Australia – the country’s largest single association of private companies, government authorities and academic institutions dedicated to the research, development and deployment of ITS technologies in Australia – supports the NTC’s work in this area, and is encouraging its members to discuss and provide feedback on the paper’s viewpoints.

The release of the NTC discussion paper and submissions coincides with the build-up to the 23rd ITS World Congress, to be held in Melbourne, marking its return to Australia for the first time after 15 years. From October 10-14 this year, 7,000 ITS leaders will join developers, policy makers and academics from around the world to discuss this very issue. The insight shared at the World Congress regarding standards, road rules, enforcement, registration and licensing will assist the council in November, when shaping Australia’s transport systems. For more information click here.

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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