The Victorian Government announced today that legislation passing Parliament this week will allow driverless vehicles to be trialled across the Australian state.
The changes to the Road Safety Act will mean roads authority VicRoads can grant permits to individuals or organisations seeking to conduct on-road automated vehicle trials.
Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan also announced an AU$9 million grant programme to support the development of vehicles with connected and automated technology and safety features.
“Victoria is at the forefront of autonomous vehicle technology and these changes will allow our best and brightest to continue to drive transport innovation,” said Donnellan.
“Automated vehicles are the future of road safety – that’s why we’re investing in trials and giving researchers better access to Victorian roads.”
Any driverless vehicle trials approved under the new laws will require a human supervisor to monitor the vehicle – although they will not have to be inside it.
In time, as companies demonstrate their automated vehicles can drive safely, this condition may be removed, allowing vehicles to drive in automated mode unsupervised in certain circumstances.
“We’re excited to support trials of automated vehicles, which will revolutionise the way we travel and move around our communities,” said VicRoads Acting Deputy Chief Executive, Robyn Seymour.
“This technology will save lives, and make our roads safer for all Victorians.”