An official framework for trials of self-driving vehicles is here: the National Transport Commission (NTC) and Austroads have released a set of national guidelines governing trials of automated vehicles on Australian roads. The first trials were staged in South Australia in 2015, and these guidelines have been in the works since March of last year.

 
Where would you like to go? Soon, cars like this may be able to drive you there autonomously. 
 
The guidelines aim to set a balance between encouraging innovation and maintaining safety for the general public. Organisations seeking to stage trials will require authorisation from state or territory road transport agencies, and agencies will require trials to report any data on crashes, near misses, and complaints from the public. Approval will only be granted for those organisations that provide a high-level description of the technology being deployed, a traffic plan and comprehensive insurance. State and territory governments will be able to approve trial locations. You can see the full guidelines here
 
At Pickles, we are keenly aware of the potential for this technology to change how people and business utilise their vehicles and the changes it may cause on vehicle supply and demand, which may include everything from accelerated consumer upgrade cycles as the technology emerges, changes in the composition of rental and taxi fleets, or logistical improvements that may result in better-condition used trucks and vehicles from less "stop and go" driving. How do you think autonomous vehicles will impact the automotive market? Let us know in the comments...

01 Jun