Driverless vehicles a step closer

1 December 2016

The Innovation Committee has launched an inquiry into the social implications of driverless vehicles. 

Driverless vehicles could be a closer reality in Australia with the announcement that the Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources will inquire into the social issues relating to land–based driverless vehicles in Australia, including cars, trucks, buses and trains.

Committee Chair Michelle Landry MP says the inquiry will bridge an important knowledge gap in the growing body of research about this emerging technology.

“Our inquiry will focus on issues such as the social acceptance of the technology, how it might benefit Australians with limited mobility, and the potential social implications for driverless vehicles in the industrial and public transport sectors.”


“Other investigations have started to address the technological aspects of driverless vehicles or possible regulatory approaches, and Australia is already at the forefront of using or trialling this new technology,” said Ms Landry.

“For example, there is currently a driverless shuttle bus on trial in Perth, millions of tonnes of iron ore are already being transported on driverless haulage trucks, and driverless trains are to be used on a new Sydney metro line.”

In late November the Queensland state government announced plans for  the largest on­road testing trial in Australia.

Main Roads and Road Safety Minister Mark Bailey today announced Ipswich had been chosen as the site of the large­scaletest­bed to trial vehicles and infrastructure that can talk to one another as well as to test cooperative and highly­automated vehicles on South East Queensland roads.
“To realise the potential benefits of these emerging technologies, we will undertake a trial over the next four years as part of the Cooperative and Automated Vehicle Initiative (CAVI),” Mr Bailey said.
“The Palaszczuk Government will recruit around 500 Ipswich motorists to take part who will have their vehicles retrofitted with cooperative intelligent transport systems (C­ITS) technology.
“These C­ITS devices work by providing safety warnings to the driver about a range of conditions – for example, a pedestrian crossing at a signalised intersection, a red light runner or a queue ahead that isn’t visible to a driver.”



The Standing Committee on Industry, Innovation, Science and Resources has advised that it will be taking into account:

Non-social aspects relating to driverless vehicles—such as regulatory status, infrastructure, technological readiness, data management and cyber security  issues
The experience of other jurisdictions and nations
How Australia might best position itself to contribute to global driverless vehicle initiatives
The respective roles of the Australian government, the Australian Parliament, other jurisdictions and other stakeholders
How issues identified from this inquiry might inform work on other emerging technologies


“This inquiry will take the next step with the Committee seeking to understand and encourage open discussion on some of the complex social issues that have yet to be tackled,” said Ms Landry.

The full Terms of Reference for the inquiry can be accessed here.


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