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Australia’s National Transport Commission launches public consultation for automated vehicles

Australia’s National Transport Commission launches public consultation for automated vehicles

The National Transport
Commission
(NTC) is responsible for developing an end-to-end regulatory
system for the safe commercial deployment of automated vehicles in Australia by
2020.

On 15 May, the NTC launched a Consultation
Regulation Impact Statement 
and a public consultation on Australia’s
approach to a safety assurance system for automated vehicles. This follows a
request by transport ministers across Australia for the NTC to assess the costs
and benefits of a mandatory self-certification safety assurance system for
automated vehicles.

This Consultation Regulation Impact Statement outlines three
key problem risks that need to be addressed to ensure the safe commercial
deployment of automated vehicles in Australia, including: (1) automated driving
systems will fail to deliver reasonable safety outcomes, (2) a lack of consumer
confidence in the safety of automated driving systems will reduce or delay
their uptake, and (3) automated driving system entities will face inconsistent
and/or uncertain regulatory barriers to the supply of automated driving systems
in the Australian market.

The statement also identifies and assesses the relative
costs and benefits of four options to address the key problem risks. Finally,
this paper invites public submissions on the analysis of options and sets out
the next steps towards developing a decision Regulation Impact Statement in
November 2018.

According to NTC Chief Executive Mr Paul Retter, Australia’s
existing laws and regulations do not recognise automated vehicles. As such, the
Consultation RIS seeks feedback on what role Australian governments will play
in assuring the safety of automated driving systems, and what form a safety
assurance system would take.

“Governments around the world are grappling with regulatory
frameworks for automated vehicles, and we aim to ensure Australia’s safety
assurance systems are best practice,” Mr Retter said.

The Consultation RIS has proposed 11 safety criteria that
responsible entities would need to self-certify against, which include aspects
of safety system design, compliance with road traffic laws, the
ability for systems to be upgraded, mandated testing in Australia, and cyber
security, to name a few.

“We have produced the Consultation RIS to gather feedback on
the four safety assurance options identified: no change to existing laws, and
three options with various choices of safety assurance systems –
administrative, legislative, and legislative with a primary safety duty of care
on the entity responsible for the automated driving system,” Mr Retter said.

Self-certification by entities bringing automated driving
systems to the Australian market was chosen as the preferred safety assurance
approach of government and industry, following on from consultation by the NTC
in 2017.

The NTC has distributed information on the Consultation RIS
to automated vehicle manufacturers internationally as well as across all state
and territory governments, the Commonwealth and local industry stakeholders.

Submissions for the Consultation RIS can be made online on the NTC
website 
 until 9
July 2018. Following consultation, the NTC will prepare a Decision RIS
for consideration by Australia’s transport ministers in November 2018.

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