Automated vehicle safety assurance system under development

Tuesday, 13 June, 2017

Australian governments, vehicle manufacturers, transport technology providers and other interested parties have been asked to contribute to the development of a national safety assurance regime for automated vehicles.

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has released the discussion paper ‘Regulatory options to assure automated vehicle safety in Australia’, which examines the balance between government oversight and industry self-regulation for automated vehicle safety. The paper identifies four regulatory options for a safety assurance system for automated vehicle technology.

The NTC is seeking feedback on four regulatory options, including continuing the current approach, self-certification, pre-market approval and accreditation.

The chief executive of the NTC, Paul Retter, said Australia’s transport ministers asked the NTC to look at what level of regulation is needed to ensure automated driving technologies are safe now and into the future.

“Australian governments are starting to remove legislative barriers to more automated road vehicles. Without a safety assurance system, these vehicles could potentially be deployed with no government oversight or regulatory intervention,” Retter said.

“These technologies are highly innovative, technically advanced and varied, and we don’t yet know if they will be safe. We need a mechanism that supports innovation without unnecessary red tape, but also assures the Australian public that automated vehicles are safe.

“This is a significant reform in road transport. Over time we will see the risks associated with the driving task shift away from the human driver towards the automated driving system and our regulatory system must be able to accommodate this shift,” Retter said.

Submissions for this discussion paper are open until 4 pm on Friday, 28 July 2017 via the NTC website.

Following consultation on this paper, the NTC will present a preferred regulatory option to transport ministers in November 2017.

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