Australia’s State and Federal Transport ministers say have paved the way for the commercial deployment of automated vehicles in Australia within the next few years after they endorsed a safety approach for approving vehicles at first supply.

The National Transport Commission’s acting CEO, Dr Geoff Allan, said the approach for the introduction of automated vehicles will build on the legal framework that currently exists for all vehicles in Australia when they are imported.

“By using existing legal frameworks to regulate automated vehicles, we can develop a single, nationally consistent approach to have vehicle importers meet key safety requirements,” Dr Allan said.

He said the key to Australia’s new system was a set of 11 safety criteria and 3 obligations which a new regulated entity, known as the automated driving system entity, will be assessed against.

The legal obligations on this new entity will interact with existing legal responsibilities that apply to the vehicle manufacturer, the vehicle owner and the vehicle driver.

“We believe that this approach provides a balance between assuring safety and encouraging innovation, while giving certainty to industry prior to vehicles being allowed into the Australian market,” Dr Allan said.

Ministers have also directed further work on safety arrangements for automated vehicles after first supply, when they are in-service. Under the existing system, state and territory governments have responsibility for the in-service safety of vehicles.

“We will develop options for in-service requirements in conjunction with state and territory governments and the Commonwealth government in the coming year,” he said.

“Australia is also committed to harmonising regulations on automated vehicles in line with international standards as they are developed.”

The NTC consulted with industry, governments, experts and the community on options for safety assurance in 2018 and received 62 submissions during its consultation process. The outcomes of this consultation and the full list of safety criteria can be found in the Safety Assurance for Automated Driving Systems: Decision Regulation Impact Statement, which was released today.

The safety assurance approaches for first supply and in-service will be implemented alongside a complete set of reforms to create an end-to-end regulatory framework for automated vehicles by the time they are ready for commercial deployment in Australia.

A copy of the Decision Regulation Impact Statement is available at the NTC’s website: