The federal government is set to open a new Office of Future Transport Technologies to guide the development of the “right policy, regulation and infrastructure” for autonomous vehicles.
The Coalition government has allocated $9.7 million for the office to engage stakeholders and state governments to improve road safety with emerging transport technologies.
Autonomous vehicle trials of varying maturity are currently being run in numerous states around the country.
Shuttle trials in Sydney recently opened to passengers and are set to expand to regional NSW, while Perth has moved beyond passenger shuttles on set routes and is currently trialling an automated taxi service.
Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development Michael McCormack told a Roads Australia event in Sydney on Thursday that the office will help ensure nationally consistent regulations that align with international best practice.
The office, which falls under the control of McCormack's department, will help ensure both the physical and cyber safety of automated vehicles, including privacy and data use.
He said the office will collaborate with state governments, agencies and industry to ensure Australia’s policies and transport infrastructure are ready to cope with new mobility technologies.
McMormack added that the office could also guide economic growth in the transport and mobility sectors across urban and regional areas.
“The Australian future transport and mobility industry is expected to generate more than $16 billion in revenue by 2025,” he said.
“While representing an emerging business opportunity for the national economy, these technologies also have great potential to reduce the $27 billion cost of road crashes in Australia each year.
“These advances can also help to reduce the significant social impacts that road deaths and injuries have on families and the wider community.”
No firm date has been set for the office's launch, but McCormack said activity would be "ramping up" over the coming months.