Victoria opens way to driverless vehicles

The Victorian Parliament has passed changes to the Road Safety Act, which will enable VicRoads to grant permits to individuals or organisations wanting to conduct on-road trials of automated vehicles. Victoria is the first state to take this step, and other leaders such as California and Tokyo are only beginning on-road testing.

Minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan also announced a $9 million grant program for researchers and industry, as part of the Towards Zero Road Strategy and Action Plan.

The grants will support the development of vehicles with connected and automated technology and safety features.

Under the new laws, all driverless vehicle trials will require a human supervisor to monitor the vehicle from either inside or outside the vehicle.

Once it has been established that a vehicle can drive safely, this condition may be removed to allow the vehicle to drive in automated mode in limited circumstances without a supervisor.

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