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South Australia leads nation on driverless car legislation

22 Sep 2015

In an Australian first, laws allowing for the on-road trials of driverless cars will be introduced in the South Australian parliament this week.

The Transport and Infrastructure Minister Stephen Mullighan will introduce a Bill allowing for ‘real-life’ testing of the technology, positioning the state at the forefront of an industry projected to be worth $90 billion in 15 years.

“We are on the cusp of the biggest advance in motoring since the since the Model T opened up car ownership to the masses,” Mr Mullighan said.

“In July, when we announced that South Australia would host the first trials of driverless cars in the Southern Hemisphere, we sent a message to the world that our state is open for business.

“South Australia is now positioned to become a key player in this emerging industry and by leading the charge, we are opening up countless new opportunities for our businesses and our economy.”

The Motor Vehicles (Trials of Automotive Technologies) Amendment Bill will provide for exemptions from existing laws to allow trials of automated vehicle technology on public roads.

“As the first state in Australia to regulate a framework for such testing, we are opening our doors to global businesses to develop and trial their technologies here, while also creating the right environment for local businesses to grow and flourish,” Mr Mullighan said.

“For instance hardware and software for South Australian-based Cohda Wireless is being used in more than 60 per cent of all Vehicle to Infrastructure and Vehicle to Vehicle field trials worldwide today.

“Cohda is currently working on software for General Motors’ connected vehicle, the Cadillac CTS, which is due for release next year.

“Companies like Cohda are leading the way in intelligent, connected vehicle programs aimed at driverless cars and we want to foster more of that innovation to generate the kind of high-skilled advanced manufacturing jobs we want to develop in South Australia.”

Paul Gray from Cohda Wireless welcomed the announcement.

“As a global supplier of Connected and Autonomous Sensors, Cohda is pleased to have the opportunity to test our products on SA roads,” he said.

Mr Mullighan said that importantly the legislation provides safeguards for the public.

Companies looking to trial technologies on our roads will have to submit detailed plans to the Government for approval, have sufficient insurances to protect the public, and still be subject to penalties for breaching road laws outside the scope of the trial.

“It is critical that the public has confidence that these trials will operate safely on our roads,” Mr Mullighan said.

The legislation also requires notice of any trials to be published at least one month in advance on the Department for Planning, Transport and Infrastructure website, www.dpti.sa.gov.au and a full report to be tabled before both houses of parliament within six months of the completion of the trial.

Driverless Cars Bill at Legislation.sa.gov.au

Inside a driverless car