Autonomous vehicles are not currently available, but the technology is coming and Australia’s regulatory bodies need to prepare for their arrival.
Given Tesla are already selling vehicles with the necessary hardware to enable Level 4/5 autonomy, their roadmap is clear, driverless cars are coming and are only a software update away. While Tesla are famously late on their self-imposed timelines, it’s a fairly safe bet they’ll be the first.
Being first means they’re pushing regulators to make decisions to regulate the use of the technology on our roads.
While there has been some early trials in South Australia, I’m in Victorian so I reached out to VicRoads for comment on how they’re approaching this challenge.
Driverless vehicles have the potential to surpass human ability by an order of magnitude. This will save lives. Texting and driving, driving under the influence and fatigue could all be solved with this technology.
This year, our road toll actually increased (around 1,150 so far, headed for around 1,500 in 2019), most of these were the result of human errors.
There’s also millions of minor accidents that occur that could be eliminated as we relieve drivers of their need to operate the vehicle and move to a model that leverages cameras and sensors around the exterior of the vehicle that builds a full 360 degree understanding of whats around the vehicle.
Can you comment on work your doing with Tesla or other auto makers to enable these technologies to hit our roads.
Work is underway to develop a national regulatory framework to enable the operation of highly automated vehicles on Australian roads. This work is expected to be completed in 2021.
Until this time, the Australian road rules state the driver of a vehicle is responsible to have proper control of the vehicle, regardless of whether any automated vehicle features are activated.
The standards for new road vehicles in Australia are defined by the Australian Design Rules (ADR), which are published by the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Cities and Regional Development.
In 2018,Victoria introduced an Australian-first Automated Driving System (ADS) permit scheme to enable the on-road trials of vehicles with automated driving systems.
The ADS permit scheme ensures that permit holders have considered all relevant safety risks, have a safety management plan and an appropriate level of insurance for on-road testing of an automated vehicle. The permit makes the permit-holder responsible for the vehicle when operating in automated mode, rather than the vehicle supervisor.
Trials of automated vehicles are providing the Department of Transport with valuable knowledge about the operation of automated vehicles in Victoria.
The Towards Zero Connected and Automated Vehicle Trial Grants program has provided funding to Bosch to develop and test an automated vehicle on Victoria’s rural highways. Bosch’s project is providing specific information about the readiness of our highways for automated vehicles.
For those people who are considering purchasing a Tesla Model 3, you have a choice regarding Full Self Driving. Right now there’s very limited functionality available in Australia and now we know that it’ll likely be 2021 at best before the rest is allowed for use in Victoria, Australia.
“Connected and automated vehicle technology is developing rapidly and can bring significant road safety and economic benefits to Victoria.”
“Victoria introduced an Australian-first automated driving system (ADS) permit scheme in 2018 to enable the on-road trials of vehicles with this technology.
The Victorian Government is working with the National Transport Commission and other State and Territory Governments to develop a nationally consistent framework to ensure safe use of this technology on our road network.”Department of Transport Spokesman