South Australia seeks slice of driverless car industry

State parliament passes legislation for on-road self-driving car tests

Modified Volvo XC90s were used for the South Australian test drives.

Modified Volvo XC90s were used for the South Australian test drives.

South Australia has legislated to allow on-road trials of driverless vehicles

The state’s upper house last week passed the Motor Vehicles (Trials of Automotive Technologies) Amendment Bill.

The legislation, which received royal assent today, allows companies to apply to conduct driverless car trials on public roads in the state.

“South Australia is now positioned to become a key player in this emerging industry and by leading the charge, we are opening up countless new opportunities for our businesses and our economy,” said the state’s transport minister, Stephen Mullighan.

South Australia last year hosted driverless car trials as part of the ARRB Group’s Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative.

The state government has talked up the potential for South Australia to play a part in the driverless car industry.

"As technologies change and vehicles start to get into smaller runs you may well see South Australia involved in — perhaps not the assembly of the whole of the vehicle — but crucial elements of the vehicle might be capable of being manufactured here," Premier Jay Weatherill said last year.

Last year a federal parliamentary inquiry recommended that the Commonwealth, through the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), work to ensure the harmonisation “of emerging federal, state and territory legislation and regulations designed to deal with the arrival of autonomous vehicles and driving systems”.

In New South Wales, a state parliamentary inquiry is studying the potential use of self-driving cars on the state’s roads. A demonstration of self-driving vehicles was recently staged as part of the inquiry.

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