Article by The Hon. Andrew Constance MP, Minister for Transport and Roads, Leader of the House
Technology is taking us to exciting places. The possibility of this journey is endless, the final destination is still unknown. New South Wales already has the reputation of being the nation’s driverless mecca, and it’s only going to get better, as we figuratively jump in the driver’s seat for our automated future.
For now we still drive our cars, but in the not too distant future it’ll be our cars driving us. We need to be prepared for this change and stay ahead of the game. Our focus needs to be on the true commercialisation of this technology as we have seen in other parts of the world.
We’ve already seen the success of the driverless shuttles in our regions helping senior communities in Coffs Harbour and Armidale. The landmark Sydney Olympic Park smart shuttle partnership has also been a great success and the Sydney Orbital Trial has examined how existing automated features in vehicles work on our roads and motorways.
We’ve seen first hand the mobility and congestion benefits of automated technology both in the city and in the bush. The time has arrived for us to start exploring our options, across freight, logistics and light commercial opportunities. The Australian freight trucking sector transports more than two billion tonnes of goods, over 17 billion kilometres, each year. It also represents four per cent of the country’s GDP.
I have previously outlined my vision for a transport subscription service, like Netflix. The role autonomous cars will play in this will be vital, ensuring improved mobility without the added costs of car ownership, parking, insurance and maintenance.
Collaboration with industry and key organisations, such as the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative, is critical to harnessing the next generation of driverless technology. Also critical is how to make it work in the best possible way for the people of New South Wales.
The New South Wales Government is pleased to have welcomed the nation’s peak driverless vehicle industry collective to our state. We are leveraging this strong relationship with open doors, and open minds, as the world’s leading AV manufacturers and technology developers take us on this fascinating journey.
Sydney will play host during the International Driverless Summit in November, cementing our strong commitment to putting New South Wales at the leading edge of innovation and proving we’re well and truly open for business.