Endorsement for automated vehicle safety approach

Eleven key safety criteria and three legal obligations drive NTC strategy

Endorsement for automated vehicle safety approach
Geoff Allan


The National Transport Commission (NTC) says it has received government endorsement for its safety approach towards approving automated vehicles in Australia.

It released the Safety Assurance for Automated Driving Systems: Decision Regulation Impact Statement for which it received 62 submissions following consultation with industry, governments, experts and the community, NTC says.

In particular, a set of 11 safety criteria and three obligations will drive the implementation of any future automated driving system entities (ADSEs) in Australia.   

The 11 safety criteria "that applicants must self-certify against to demonstrate its processes for managing safety risks before their ADS can be supplied in the Australian market" are: 

1. Safe system design and validation processes

2. Operational design domain

3. Human-machine interface

4. Compliance with relevant road traffic laws

5. Interaction with enforcement and other emergency services

6. Minimal risk condition

7. On-road behavioural competency

8. Installation of system upgrades

9. Verifying for the Australian road environment

10. Cybersecurity

11. Education and training.

The three obligations on "ADSEs to manage liability for events such as road traffic law breaches and crashes" are:

1. Data recording and sharing

2. Corporate presence in Australia

3. Minimum financial requirements.

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NTC acting chief executive Geoff Allan says the approach for the introduction of automated vehicles will build on the legal framework that currently exists for all vehicles in Australia when they are imported.

"By using existing legal frameworks to regulate automated vehicles, we can develop a single, nationally consistent approach to have vehicle importers meet key safety requirements," Allan says.

"We believe that this approach provides a balance between assuring safety and encouraging innovation, while giving certainty to industry prior to vehicles being allowed into the Australian market."

Transport ministers have directed further work on safety arrangements for automated vehicles after first supply, when they are in service, NTC says.

Under the existing system, state and territory governments are responsibile for the in-service safety of vehicles.

"We will develop options for in-service requirements in conjunction with state and territory governments and the Commonwealth government in the coming year," Allan says.

"Australia is also committed to harmonising regulations on automated vehicles in line with international standards as they are developed."

The safety assurance approaches for first supply and in-service will be implemented alongside a complete set of reforms to create an end-to-end regulatory framework for automated vehicles by the time they are ready for commercial deployment in Australia, NTC says.

The full report can be found here.


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