The NSW Government has taken an important step towards preparing the state for a future where people are no longer behind the wheel.
On 10 August 2017 the Government passed the Transport Legislation Amendment (Automated Vehicle Trials and Innovation) Bill 2017. The Bill greenlights the trial of highly or fully automated vehicles, as approved by the Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, the Roads and Maritime Service (RSM) or Transport for NSW.
The Bill shifts NSW into gear to ensure that it maintains pace with the rest of the world as vehicle automation becomes a reality. It also means that the Government will have some time to start working through the significant social, infrastructure and legal issues that need to be overcome in Australia to ensure that the country stays in the fast lane. This will no doubt include assessing the shape the cities and infrastructure surrounding them.
As Melinda Pavey, Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight said in the second treading of the bill, “automation and innovation are drivers of change, ‘change that the Government must embrace if it is to be better equipped to tackle complex economic, environmental and social challenges, stimulate economic activity and drive shared prosperity…”. [Emphasis added]
The Bill is part of the NSW Government’s Future Transport Strategy, which includes driverless technology as a key pillar of the strategy.
NSW isn’t the first state to take proactive steps towards greenlighting driverless cars. South Australia introduced the Motor Vehicles (Trials of Automotive Technologies) Amendment Bill 2016 introduced in June of last year. Both states trailed New Zealand who introduced the Intelligent Transport Systems Technology Action Plan 2014-2018 in 2014, and who commenced autonomous vehicles trials at Christchurch International Airport in January this year.
The Bill requires that any trial have a person (vehicle supervisor) in the vehicle at all times the vehicle is in use, which distinguishes from South Australia which doesn’t have those requirements.
If you have any questions around infrastructure and or driverless vehicle technology, and its legal implications, contact Michael Morrissey.
Disclaimer: This publication by Morrissey Law & Advisory is for general information and commentary only and should not be considered or relied upon as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in relation to any matters or transactions that may arise in relation with communication.