NTC, Austroads release guidelines for automated vehicle trials

New guidelines invite nationwide testing of automated vehicle technology

NTC, Austroads release guidelines for automated vehicle trials
Retter says it is important to ensure the trials are nationally-consistent


The National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads have released national guidelines for trials of automated vehicles.

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.

A joint publication by the NTC and Austroads, the Guidelines for trials of automated vehicles in Australia are designed to be flexible and easy for industry to use, to support trials across Australia.

The industry will need to address some key issues including:

  • a clear scope of operations
  • a safety management plan that addresses risks
  • appropriate insurance.

"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," NTC chief executive Paul Retter says.

"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."

Trialling organisations will also need to provide data from trials to road transport agencies, including details of any crashes.

"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.

State and territory governments are also reviewing their exemption powers to ensure that they have appropriate powers to support the trials.

Austroads chief executive Nick Koukoulas says the guidelines draw on international best practice and have a strong focus on safety.

"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," Koukoulas says.

"We’re looking forward to the Australian public getting a first-hand view of the benefits of these new and emerging technologies."

The guidelines are 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.

The guidelines are available for download on the NTC and Austroads websites.

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