Driverless cars may soon be ready for the roads, but the roads may not be ready for them without legislative attention, says a government agency.
The National Transport Commission has released a document outlining potential barriers to self-driving cars in Australia which include questions about who should be liable following an accident: should it be the vehicle owner, the manufacturer, or the government body who registered it?
The document entitled, “Regulatory Options for Automated Vehicles” is intended as a conversation starter to help the country address a number of “barriers to increasing vehicle automation”, according to the NTC.
NTC chief executive and commissioner Paul Retter said in a statement: “Australia’s laws need to be ready for the biggest change to our transport system since cars replaced horses.”
“Amending these laws shouldn’t be hard, but making sure the new laws are nationally consistent and encourage innovation while ensuring the safety of all road users will be important.”
Some of the issues up for discussion include: how governments can enable on-road trials of automated vehicles nationally, how governments can help clarify who is driving a vehicle when the human driver is not driving and how the requirement that a driver have proper control of a vehicle should be interpreted by police when there is no human driver.
The discussion paper addresses concerns raised earlier this year by the NTC and 32 stakeholders.
The NTC is seeking responses by July so the commission will have time to analyse them and make recommendations in November.