NSW Government has passed legislation to allow for the trial of automated vehicles on both city and regional roads across the state.
The new laws will allow Roads, Maritime and Freight Minister Melinda Pavey to approve trials; applicants must have “adequate insurance provisions” and safety management plans in place.
It comes as the first trial of autonomous vehicles in the state gets underway, with the government partnering with HMI Technologies, the NRMA, Telstra, and IAG for a two year trial of a driverless shuttle bus at Sydney Olympic Park.
The first stage of the trial will take place at the Newington Armory, allowing for tests and safety checks to be conducted in an off-road environment, before the trial extends to the roads at Sydney Olympic Park for public use next year.
“We want to use the trial to help develop the systems that will enable automated vehicles to be connected to our infrastructure, like traffic lights and to our customers through their devices and applications. It’s the combination of connectivity and automation that will provide the safety and mobility benefits we are looking for,” Pavey said.
An automated vehicle trial is also underway in Victoria, with the Victorian government partnering with VicRoads, RACV, and Transurban to trial connected and automated vehicles from BMW, Mercedes, Tesla, and Volvo on the Monas-CityLink-Tullamarine corridor.
The three-phase trial aims to gauge how to prepare roads infrastructure, regulations, and the community for the rise of automated vehicles into the state’s transport system.
As such, the government stated the first phase of the trial, due to start later this year, will look to explore how features such as lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, and traffic sign recognition respond to the road environment, including tunnels, road works, congestion, electronic speed signs, and line markings.
A professional driver will be at the steering wheel at all times when trials are conducted in live traffic.
VicRoads CEO, John Merritt said, “This technology is moving at a rapid pace, and we want to ensure our roads and the community are ready for these changes.”
Brian Negus, general manager of public policy at RACV, added, “We want to get a clear understanding for our members of the potential safety improvements offered by automated vehicles; how the technology works and what the implications are for the community.”