Guidelines for trials of automated vehicles in Australia have been released jointly by the National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads.
The national guidelines provide certainty to the industry on conditions for trials and provide national consistency.
The guidelines are meant to be flexible, the NTC said and easy for the industry to use.
In conducting the trials the industry will need to address certain issues. In an article on Fullyloaded.com.au the following key issues were highlighted that the industry will need to address.
- a clear scope of operations
- a safety management plan that addresses risks
- appropriate insurance.
NTC chief executive Paul Retter said his organisation worked closely with manufacturers, developers and governments when developing the guidelines to ensure best practice.
“We have worked closely with vehicle manufacturers, technology developers and federal, state and territory governments to ensure our approach to trials is nationally-consistent and reflects best practice,”
“With a range of different environmental conditions, a receptive population and now guidelines for the safe conduct of trials, Australia has the potential to become a global testing and innovation hub for automated vehicles.” Retter explained.
Retter also explained that organisations involved in the trialing will need to provide data from the trials to road transport agencies, including any data about crashes. This will promote innovation, he said.
“This approach allows industry to innovate – they just need to demonstrate that they are managing the risks, including any risk to other road users,” Retter says.
Governments are said to be reviewing their exemption powers to ensure that they have the necessary powers to support the trials.
Austroads chief executive Nick Koukoulas also highlighted the guidelines strong focus on safety. He said while they drew on international best practice, safety was the main focus. He went on to explain,
“By establishing a performance-based framework to support on-road trials, these guidelines aim to assure the Australian community that roads are being used safely,”
“We’re looking forward to the Australian public getting a first-hand view of the benefits of these new and emerging technologies.” Koukoulas says.
The NTC said the guidelines are the first phase of reform to support the deployment of automated vehicles onto Australian roads. This roadmap was apparently approved by ministers in November 2016, including a series of reforms to develop an regulatory system when the automated vehicles are commercially deployed.