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Australia Announces Drafting of New Laws For Autonomous Cars


Australia Announces Drafting of New Laws For Autonomous Cars

Source: NTC

Australia Announces Drafting of New Laws For Autonomous Cars


Australia is taking a step towards an autonomous transport future with the announcement of new recommendations to reform laws that recognise driverless cars.

Driverless cars have been copping it in the media of late, particularly after the tragedy of a woman being killed during an Uber driverless car test earlier this year. This and other incidents have ultimately resulted in consumer trust in autonomous vehicles dropping significantly, as reported by the AAA last month.

Despite this, as the world edges closer and closer to a future where automated technology is daily fare, the need to regulate and integrate things like driverless cars into our lives continues.

And so it is in Australia that the National Transport Commission (NTC) is now bringing the island nation up to speed with the drafting of policy that will eventually see autonomous cars take to the road safely and legally.

In the policy paper, chair and commissioner Carolyn Walsh explains the thinking behind the draft legislation.

“Australian transport and infrastructure ministers have recognised that automated vehicles offer the possibility of fundamentally changing how transport is provided and unlocking a range of benefits,” she writes.

Our aim is to develop a flexible and responsive regulatory environment for the commercial deployment of automated vehicles that supports innovation and safety - @NTC_AUS Click To Tweet

In total there are 11 key recommendations put forward in the document that will form the basis of the new legislation. These range from topics such as under what circumstances automated driving is allowed, clarifying where the legal responsibility of each automated lies at each and every stage of automation, and identifying driver duties when the automated driving system is in control.

Driving at different levels of automation over the course of a journey | NTC

Driving at different levels of automation over the course of a journey | NTC

Issues such as ensuring that a person in charge of a dedicated automated vehicle is not subject to drink- and drug-driving offences are also discussed.

The NTC’s chief executive Paul Retter said, “With automated vehicles, there will be times when an ‘automated driving system’, rather than a human, will be in control of the vehicle.”

We need a nationally consistent law to know who is in control of a motor vehicle at any point in time.”

Next steps for the laws to become part of a national legal architecture for autonomous driving systems (ADS) across all Australian states will involve the creation of a national working group.

In the meantime, the NTC are calling for public input on the deployment of automated vehicles in Australia.

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Cite this article as: Sarah Whittaker, "Australia Announces Drafting of New Laws For Autonomous Cars," in, June 1, 2018,

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