Friday, 19 Apr 2019
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CAR TECH | Rapid driverless vehicle rollout projected in Australia by 2020

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CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA — Five car manufacturers would have level three and four autonomous vehicles available by 2020, rising to 14 by 2022, the Australian National Transport Commission (NTC) said Monday, warning lawmakers must prepare for an autonomous vehicle boom.

In a submission to the parliamentary infrastructure and transport committee, the NTC said that there could be between 740,000 and 1.7 million autonomous vehicles on Australian roads by 2020 and 9.5 million by 2030.

Michael McCormack, Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister (PM), said that the government was working with industry groups to prepare for the rapid rollout.

“I want to ensure these new technologies are deployed in a manner which improves safety, productivity, accessibility and liveability for Australians in both urban and regional areas,” he told News Corp Australia on Monday.

Level three autonomous vehicles are vehicles that can drive themselves but require a driver capable of taking control at all times while level four vehicles can perform all driving functions autonomously with the option of driver control.

Level five vehicles will be fully automated at all times.

The NTC’s projections were disputed by the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries (FCAI), which said that level four vehicles would not be available in Australia for 10 years.

“A small number of vehicles with level four or five systems may be introduced before 2030,” it said in its submission.

“However, it is expected that these will be either niche products and/or (operated) in limited numbers as part of a closed fleet.”

The Australian Automobile Association (AAA) took a similar position to the FCAI, warning against rushing through regulations for autonomous vehicles.

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