NSW Parliament should pass AV trial laws

03 August 2017
The NRMA is today calling on the NSW Parliament to pass laws introduced this week which will allow autonomous vehicle trials to occur across NSW, as the nation prepares for the uptake of technology in the coming years.

The NRMA has today released Trialling Autonomous Vehicles in NSW, which calls on NSW to follow the lead of South Australia and enable the trial of autonomous vehicles on the state’s roads.

The policy introduction will enable trials to take place in specifically designated areas (sandboxing) and across the whole road network, therefore enabling the technology to interact with traffic under guidelines.

The NRMA supports the legislation and supported the Private Members Bill introduced by Shadow Minister for Minister for Innovation Yasmin Catley earlier this year.

The legislation will act as a prelude to standardised nationwide regulations allowing autonomous vehicles to roll-out across Australia. Similar trials should also be conducted across other states and territories.

Trialling Autonomous Vehicles in NSW highlights the importance of Australia creating the least restrictive testing environment possible, to ensure that its relatively small fleet size (less than 1.5 per cent of the world fleet) does not restrict it from gaining the early benefits of autonomous vehicles.

The report also demonstrates the need to focus trials in areas that will deliver benefits to communities with high mobility inequalities, such as the elderly, those with disabilities and those living in remote areas.

NRMA Chairman Kyle Loades said the trials were crucial to ensuring a smooth transition from the combustion engine to autonomous vehicle technology, while guaranteeing Australia is well-placed to reap early benefits of the technology on society.

"Autonomous vehicles are coming to Australia however across the country we are not ready from a legislative point-of-view," Mr Loades said.

"Running trials across NSW will enable manufacturers to trouble-shoot any concerns with the technology and capture crucial data to inform insurance and liability matters while also gain important training in how the technology interacts with other roads users."

"For example, had it not been for the trials currently underway in South Australia by Volvo, the world would never have known that autonomous vehicle technology struggled to detect the movements of kangaroos and therefore needed to be adjusted."

Trialling Autonomous Vehicles in NSW states that the guidelines introduced to the NSW Parliament yesterday were an important step on the path of an autonomous vehicle future. The Government’s legislation will provide clarity to the industry and attract crucial trial proposals to the state.