Next phase of AV regulation approved

Ministers approve NTC guidelines aimed at helping enforcement of road traffic laws

Next phase of AV regulation approved
Retter says NTC is working with governments to implement a safety assurance system by 2020.


Australia is to have an end-to-end regulatory system for automated vehicles (AV) in place by 2020, transport ministers have agreed.

It was one of the two key automated reforms approved by the ministers during the Transport and Infrastructure Council (TIC) meeting with the National Transport Commission (NTC) last week.

The agreement is part of an official roadmap of reform to support commercial deployment of automated vehicles.

It comes as the NTC released the national enforcement guidelines to help police enforce road traffic laws in relation to AV technology.

NTC chief executive Paul Retter says the ministers endorse the new national enforcement guidelines and have agreed to progress the development of a safety assurance system.

"Ministers have agreed to a goal of having an end-to-end regulatory system in place by 2020 to support the safe, commercial deployment of automated vehicles at all levels of automation," Retter says.

"This is an important milestone towards that goal.

"Australia is one of the first countries to make this bold commitment to 2020.

"We want to give certainty to manufacturers by ensuring our regulatory system is flexible and responsive to encourage innovation."

The enforcement guidelines outline responsibility for compliance with road traffic laws and examples of behaviours indicating proper control.

"These guidelines provide clarity around who is in control of a vehicle at different levels of automation," Retter says.

"They confirm that a human driver is responsible for the driving task when conditional automation is engaged.

"They also determine that having hands on the wheel is no longer an indicator of having proper control when conditional automation is safely engaged."

Transport ministers have also directed the NTC to develop a safety assurance system for automated road vehicles.

"Ministers agree that government has a role in assuring the safety of automated driving systems, just as governments have a role in assuring driver safety today through driver licensing regimes," Retter says.

The NTC is working with the federal, state and territory governments to implement a safety assurance system by 2020.

The next stage is to develop a COAG Regulation Impact Statement on legislative options in early 2018, it states.

The NTC is currently seeking feedback on how to change driving laws to support automated vehicles, with submissions closing on 24 November.

Next year, the transport commission will commence public consultation on two other projects relating to government access to automated vehicle data and a review of automated vehicle exemption powers and insurance.

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