Victoria Leading The Way On Autonomous Vehicle Trials

The Andrews Labor Government is partnering with the automotive and technology industries support safe and effective trials of automated vehicles on Victorian roads.

VicRoads will engage with industry to seek feedback on the Labor Government’s Future Directions Paper, which outlines the need for regulatory changes to allow testing of highly automated vehicles on our roads.

The consultation will focus on how to ensure road safety during testing on public roads, what constitutes a driver ‘being in control’, and understanding how the changing technology will interact with our transport system.

It will also work to create a framework to allow for a wide range of vehicles to be trialled on Victoria’s roads, potentially including highly automated vehicles, where a driver is not in control of the vehicle.

From early next year, a range of automated vehicles will be trialled on the Monash-Citylink-Tullarmine corridor, in a partnership between the Labor Government and Transurban.

The trial will test vehicles currently on the market, to understand how autonomous vehicle technology interacts with road infrastructure including overhead lane signals, electronic speed signs and line marking.

The Transurban trial will begin with testing automated vehicles that comply with existing road rules and road safety regulations. A human driver will monitor the vehicle’s operation, ready to take back control at any time.

It will also build on the knowledge gathered through the testing of the Bosch Highly Automated Driving Vehicle unveiled during the ITS World Congress in October.

Autonomous vehicles have enormous potential to make our journeys safer and more efficient, and to help the community to travel far more easily, including people with limited mobility.

Self-driving vehicles are an important step to reducing road trauma with 90 per cent of crashes resulting from human error.

The introduction of highly-automated vehicles has the potential to help Victoria achieve its Towards Zero vision – a future free of deaths and serious injuries on the state’s roads.

The Future Directions Paper consultation will work within the National Transport Commission’s framework to establish nationally consistent guidelines across Australia for automated vehicle trials, which will also inform Victoria’s future policies on automated vehicles.

The consultation runs from 15 December to 3 February. Feedback is sought on the Future Directions Paper, which can be found at https://engage.vicroads.vic.gov.au/on-road-trials-of-automated-vehicles

Quotes attributable to Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan

“We want to work with the automotive and technology industries so Victoria can be at the forefront of automated vehicle technology and create jobs here in Victoria.”

“Keeping people safe on our roads is our number one priority and that’s why we’re running these innovative trials in the safest possible way for all road users.”

“By removing human error from the equation, autonomous vehicles will play a critical role in reducing deaths and serious injuries on Victorian roads.”

Quotes attributable to CEO Transurban Scott Charlton

“Advances in vehicle technology will rapidly change the way Victorians use the road network.”

“Industry experts say we will have fully driverless cars on the market in the next 5 to 10 years and we need to make sure our infrastructure is ready to meet this demand.”

“Highly automated vehicles have the potential to significantly boost road safety, relieve congestion and improve social mobility. We are pleased to partner with the Victorian Government to look at how these vehicles could one day deliver benefits for local road users.”