National Transport Commission reviews introduction of automated road and rail vehicles

25 February 2016

The National Transport Commission (NTC) has commenced a review into the existing regulatory framework in Australia which may apply to the introduction of automated road and rail vehicles.

The NTC is an independent statutory body established to develop and submit law reform recommendations to a council of federal and state transport, infrastructure and planning ministers known as the Transport and Infrastructure Council.

The objective of the NTC’s review is to identify any existing laws or regulations rules which are unnecessary, in need of reform or operate as barriers to the safe introduction of automated road vehicles.

Automated vehicles are defined in the review as vehicles that have some level of system automation and which do not require a human driver for some (or all) of the task of driving.

The context for the review is what the NTC regards as the disruptive impact of increasing but diverging manufacturing trends toward automated driving controls, in circumstances where Australian road rules assume that drivers are human and use their own judgement, not automated technology, to drive their road vehicles.

The NTC will not only review road rules, but also consider existing laws and regulations applying to vehicle safety, driver training, licensing, vehicle registration and vehicle ownership.

The NTC is scheduled to release a discussion paper for public consultation in mid 2016, and aims to deliver its recommendations to the Transport and Infrastructure Council in November 2016.

More information about the NTC’s review can be accessed here.

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