National Transport Commission calls for feedback on Autonomous Vehicles

The National Transport Commission (NTC) develop reforms to improve Australia’s land transport laws and regulations. They’ve just posted the latest round of consultations on Autonomous Vehicles and want your feedback.

Back in 2018, transport ministers asked the NTC’s to work on changing driving laws for automated vehicles and safety assurance system for automated vehicles.

In May of 2018 transport ministers agreed that Australia would develop a new purpose-built national law to regulate the on-road operation of automated vehicles. While regulation is rarely done well, this national approach is a positive move, offering auto manufacturers an easier path for approval, rather than having to go state-by-state.

In November 2018 transport ministers agreed:

  • An approach to first supply (or market entry) of automated vehicles. This approach incorporates self-certification for automated driving systems (ADS) into existing Commonwealth legislation for the first supply of road vehicles.
  • Further work to develop an appropriate approach to the in-service safety of automated vehicles. This includes consideration of appropriate institutional arrangements and safety duties.

The RTC is seeking feedback on a consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS) which assesses options to manage the in-service safety of automated vehicles.

The consultation RIS examines:

  • the role of different parties in the in-service safety of automated vehicles
  • any additional safety duties that should apply to these parties
  • the institutional and regulatory arrangements to support these duties.

Key concepts included in the paper are:

Automated vehicle means a vehicle with conditional to full automation (SAE levels 3- 5). It is a vehicle that has an automated driving system which means that it is capable of performing the entire dynamic driving task on a sustained basis without human input. It is distinct from vehicles with automated features to assist a driver (SAE levels 1-2) which still require a human driver to perform part of the dynamic driving task.

Conditional automation (SAE level 3) means the ADS undertakes the entire dynamic driving task in situations within its ‘operational design domain’. The human driver does not have to monitor the driving environment or the ADS but must be receptive to ADS requests to intervene and any system failures.

Dynamic driving task means all the operational and tactical functions required to operate a vehicle in on-road traffic. This includes steering, acceleration and deceleration, object and event detection and response, manoeuvre planning and enhancing conspicuity through lighting signalling etc. The dynamic driving task excludes strategic functions like trip planning (where and when to travel and route selections).

Fallback-ready user means a human in a vehicle with conditional automation who is able to operate the vehicle and who is receptive to requests from the ADS to intervene and is receptive to evident dynamic driving task performance-relevant system failures. The fallback-ready user is expected to respond by taking control of the vehicle.

First Supply means the market entry of motor vehicles to Australia.

In-service safety means the safety of automated vehicles once the vehicles are on the roads or ‘in-service’.

Remote driver (sometimes described as a remote operator or teleoperator) is a human who can operate the automated vehicle, but who is not seated in a position to manually operate vehicle controls such as brakes and steering. A remote driver may operate the vehicle from outside it or inside it.

Consultation closes on Monday, 26 August 2019. After that, they from Analysing issues to the Analysing Options phase, followed by an implementation phase.

You can get involved by visiting

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Jason Cartwright
Jason Cartwright
Creator of techAU, Jason has spent the dozen+ years covering technology in Australia and around the world. Bringing a background in multimedia and passion for technology to the job, Cartwright delivers detailed product reviews, event coverage and industry news on a daily basis. Disclaimer: Tesla Shareholder from 20/01/2021

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