Report warns of risk in lagging vehicle tech adoption

Australian readiness indicators strong but risks decline in ‘way of life and society’

Report warns of risk in lagging vehicle tech adoption
The report highlights the value of vehicle autonomy


Australia is well placed to capitalise on transport's 'technology revolution' but risks a decline in living standards should it fail to keep up with advancements, a report released today by the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering says.

Shifting Gears – Preparing for a Transport Revolution concludes Australia is well positioned to be a leader in a global shift to "clean, safe, efficient transport" using low and zero-emission vehicles (LEVs), connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs), high-frequency mass transit and intelligent transport systems.

The report identifies three key challenges for the transport sector – lower emissions, health, and efficient movement of people and freight – and provides a blueprint for transport planning to 2030 for an incoming federal government.

To make the shift, the report suggests:

• a national target to drive the uptake of LEVs in Australia

• incentives to use LEVs as fleet vehicles

• industry to lead the way in the uptake of LEVs by ensuring that vehicles imported into Australia meet stringent standards for emissions, set by government.

The report also highlights the value of CAVs, which can range from cars with partial automation through to fully automated vehicles that communicate with each other through the mobile network, and recommends the expansion of mobile coverage across the entire road network.

The investigation into the transport industry’s technology readiness was chaired by two academy fellows Kathryn Fagg and Drew Clarke.

"With Australia’s geographic isolation and long distances between urban centres, the transport sector will be both significantly disrupted and revolutionised by this technological transformation," Fagg says.

"Failure to be prepared will risk a decline in many aspects of our Australian way of life and society, including increased congestion and vehicle-related emissions, a deterioration in health, safety and security, and a negative impact on the cost of living, productivity and the ease of mobility.

"For example, inadequate planning for population growth and the spread of urban centres could significantly impede the mobility of passengers and freight in both urban and regional areas.

"Australia is performing well on a number of readiness indicators and is well placed to capitalise on the coming technology revolution, but we need to make smart, strategic decisions to keep pace with the technological frontier."

Read about the NTC's 'world-first' driver fatigue study, here


• governments set nationally consistent standards to support productivity-enhancing technology, including for charging infrastructure and connections, data sharing and data privacy

• competitive grants programs to encourage the trial of transport technologies that can be adapted to Australia’s unique geographical or climatic conditions

• integrated land use and transportation planning to take into account likely network use changes from new technologies

• strengthened teaching of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in primary and secondary schools, to support the workforce of the future

• university and VET courses to be developed in collaboration with industry, to ensure the relevant skills are available.

A summary of the report can be found here.


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