And a look at what’s happening in the world of autonomy at the moment
Autonomous cars are coming, but the road from human to automated driving is a complex one. In Australia, one body responsible for helping drive that transition is the National Transport Commission (NTC).
The commission has already taken some steps to smooth the testing and rollout process: working with government, industry and community bodies, it has developed trial guidelines for testing autonomous vehicles in Australia, and is currently developing a safety assurance system.
This year, it will review how our current driving laws apply to driverless vehicles, and how existing insurance and support systems will work when a driverless car is involved in an accident. Beyond that, there are questions about how self-driving data will be used by governments.
At the moment, autonomous technology is purely in the test stage locally. There’s a trial underway in Canberra seeking self-driving test pilots, while tweaked legislation in Victoria as recently opened the door for wider driverless testing.
Along with the high-level discussions about policy, there are wider questions among the public about self-driving technology. The 2017 Transport Opinion Survey, carried out by the University of Sydney Business School, showed only 52 per cent of Australians are ‘hopeful’ about our autonomous future.