Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has announced the creation of the Office of Future Transport Technologies to help prepare for the pending arrival of automated vehicles and other transport innovations.
The new office adds to the existing Transport Technologies Future Taskforce which is part of the Federal Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities. This development should lead to the coordinated introduction of autonomous vehicles in Australia – something legislators have been slow to get behind.
In an address at a Roads Australia event held in Sydney this week, Mr McCormack said Australian governments and industry needed to collaborate effectively in order to develop the right policy, regulation and infrastructure, to adapt to future technology use.
“Getting Australians home sooner and safer is a core focus of our government and the emergence of automated vehicles represents a significant opportunity to realise safety and productivity benefits while supporting Australian industry and innovation,” he said.
“The Australian future transport and mobility industry is expected generate more than $16 billion in revenue by 2025."
“While representing an emerging business opportunity for the national economy, these technologies also have great potential to reduce the $27 billion cost of road crashes in Australia each year” Mr McCormack said.
There will be $9.7 million invested in the new office which has been backed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI) and ANCAP.
FCAI Chief Executive Tony Weber commented: “Our members are at the forefront of developing future vehicle technology globally and bringing this to market.”
“With continuing enhancements in connected and automated vehicles, it is critical that Australia is at the forefront of the development of realistic and efficient regulatory settings” Mr Weber said.
With Australia contributing over one per cent of global new vehicle sales a partnership between government and industry is essential as new technology is brought to the market.
Australia’s independent vehicle safety authority ANCAP has also welcomed the announcement. ANCAP Chief Executive, James Goodwin is looking forward to a collaborative and coordinated approach to ensure international and state consistency of regulation.
Mr Goodwin commented: "As we move to an automated transport future, building consumer, industry and regulator confidence is key.”
"Automated vehicle technology is no longer the future, it is in today's new cars, and as the building blocks for full automation the establishment of a dedicated office shows national leadership and confidence."
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