Driverless cars get Victorian go-ahead

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Driverless cars get Victorian go-ahead

Permits can be granted for on-road tests.

Trials of driverless vehicles have been given a green light in Victoria after the state's parliament this week waved through changes to the Road Safety Act.

VicRoads now has the ability to grant permits to organisations and individuals looking to test drive autonomous vehicles. Permits will be available based on performance and proof of necessary safety management and insurance policies.

Initially trials will need to involve a human supervisor to monitor the vehicle, but fully autonomous driving - in limited circumstances - would be allowed once VicRoads is confident the driverless vehicle can operate safely.

The state government also announced a $9 million grants program for ressearchers and industry to help develop vehicles with connected and automated technology.

Roads minister Luke Donnellan said the funding and changes to road rules would enable further development of safety technologies in cars and lead to a reduction in the number of injuries and deaths as a result of human error.

Last year the National Transport Commission and AustRoads published guidelines on how autonomous vehicles can be tested on public roads.

South Australia was the first state in Australia to pass laws enabling driverless vehicle tests, and has turned to the industry as a replacement for the closure of its traditional car manufacturing operations.

NSW followed suit last August, introducing legislation to back a two-year driverles bus trial, while Western Australia is trialling electric driverless shuttle buses and autonomous taxis.

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