Victoria accelerates its road to connected vehicles
The Victorian Government has made changes to its Road Safety Act, that will make it easier to conduct on-road trials of automated vehicles.
With the changes to Victoria’s Road Safety Act, individuals or organisations can apply to VicRoads to run on-road trials of automated vehicles. For initial trials the new laws require a human to monitor the vehicle, from either inside the vehicle, or remotely.
Once a trial has seen a vehicle trial safely under these conditions, applications can be made to remove the human supervisor, and have the vehicle trial in a truly automated manner,
“Automated vehicles are the future of road safety — that’s why we’re investing in trials and giving researchers better access to Victorian roads,” said Luke Donellan, Minister for Roads and Road Safety.
Mr Donellan also announced a $9 million grant program for researchers and industry, to advance research and development in technology and safety features for connected and automated vehicles, as part of Victoria’s Towards Zero Road Strategy and Action Plan.
“This technology will save lives, and make our roads safer for all Victorians,” said Robyn Seymour, VicRoads’ Acting Deputy Chief Executive.
How do you apply for an on-road trial?
Details of the changes to the Road Safety Act 1986 are still being finalised, but VicRoads provided the following details on the application process:
‘To be eligible for a permit, applicants will need to demonstrate that they have appropriate processes in place to ensure that the trial is being managed safely. This includes having a safety management plan, public liability insurance and any other insurance relevant to the trial.
Applicants will need to provide details about the proposed trial to VicRoads, as well as any vehicles and vehicle supervisors to be involved. Further information based on the Guidelines for Trials of Automated Vehicles in Australia, published by the National Transport Commission and Austroads, will also need to be provided.
All permits will be subject to conditions, some of which will apply to all permits, while others will be imposed on a case-by-case basis due to the nature of the trial. These conditions may be imposed on the permit holder, the vehicle(s) or any vehicle supervisor. VicRoads may limit the use of the vehicle to certain roads, areas, or times of day, or impose any additional conditions to ensure the safety of the community.
Permit holders will also be required to maintain records in relation to the use of the vehicle during the trial, as well as provide regular reports to assist VicRoads in the management of the permit scheme and the use of automated vehicles. unsafe trials will be quickly removed from the road. Trial permits can be varied, suspended or cancelled by VicRoads as a result of safety risks or traffic offences.’