Automated vehicle trials can now begin

Automated vehicle trials can now begin

Australian governments are taking steps to move to a new era of mobility, with the launch of national guidelines for trials of automated vehicles.

Guidelines for trials of automated vehicles in Australia is a joint publication of the National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads. 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.

Chief executive of the NTC Paul Retter said the guidelines were designed to be flexible and easy for industry to use, to support trials across Australia.

“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,” Mr Retter said.

“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.”

Industry will have enormous flexibility in the type of trials that can be run – they simply need to address some key issues. These include having:

  • A clear scope of operations.
  • A safety management plan that addresses risks.
  • Appropriate insurance.

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,” Mr Retter said.

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

Chief executive of Austroads Nick Koukoulas said 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,” Mr Koukoulas said.

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

The release of these guidelines is 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.

For more information, visit

Photo: the OTTO automated truck, being tested in the US, was featured in the March-April 2017 issue of MHD Supply Chain Solutions magazine.


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