Automated vehicles trial announced for Victoria

A trial of how automated vehicles can interact with Australian road infrastructure will kick off on Melbourne's CityLink from next year in a new partnership between the Victorian Government and Transurban.

The trial will test vehicles currently on the market, to understand how autonomous vehicle technology interacts with road infrastructure including overhead lane signals, electronic speed signs and line marking.

The Transurban trial will begin with testing automated vehicles that comply with existing road rules and road safety regulations. A human driver will monitor the vehicle’s operation, ready to take back control at any time.

To establish nationally consistent guidelines across Australia for automated vehicle trials, VicRoads will consult with industry for feedback on the Labor Government’s Future Directions Paper.

The consultation will focus on how to ensure road safety during testing on public roads, what constitutes a driver ‘being in control’, and understanding how the changing technology will interact with our transport system.

Minister for Roads, Luke Donnellan, commented, “We want to work with the automotive and technology industries so Victoria can be at the forefront of automated vehicle technology and create jobs here in Victoria.”

“Keeping people safe on our roads is our number one priority and that’s why we’re running these innovative trials in the safest possible way for all road users.”

“By removing human error from the equation, autonomous vehicles will play a critical role in reducing deaths and serious injuries on Victorian roads.”

Transurban CEO, Scott Charlton, said advances in vehicle technology will rapidly change the way Victorians use the road network.

“Industry experts say we will have fully driverless cars on the market in the next five to 10 years and we need to make sure our infrastructure is ready to meet this demand,” Charlton said.

“Highly automated vehicles have the potential to significantly boost road safety, relieve congestion and improve social mobility. We are pleased to partner with the Victorian Government to look at how these vehicles could one day deliver benefits for local road users.”

The consultation runs from 15 December to 3 February. Feedback is sought on the Future Directions Paper, which can be found online.

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