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Safety assurance system for automated vehicles in focus

Australia’s approach to a safety assurance system for automated vehicles is the subject of a Consultation Regulation Impact Statement (RIS), which opened for public consultation on 15 May.

According to National Transport Commission (NTC) Chief Executive, Paul Retter, Australia’s existing laws and regulations do not recognise automated vehicles. 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.

“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,” said Retter.

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.

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 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.

“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,” said Retter.

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.

A Regulation Impact Statement is required for government decisions that are likely to have a measurable impact on businesses or community organisations. Consultation is required with parties likely to be affected by the regulatory proposal.

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

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