Law change allows driverless cars

South Australia will lay claim to an Australian first this week when the State Government introduces laws allowing for trials of driverless cars on open public roads.

A trial set for Adelaide’s Southern Expressway in early November doesn’t require legislative change because the road will be closed.

However, the Bill to be introduced tomorrow by Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan will allow autonomous vehicles to be trialled on open public roads in South Australia.

The Motor Vehicles (Trials of Automotive Technologies) Amendment Bill will provide exemptions from existing laws to allow the trials of the emerging technology.

‘This legislation will facilitate public road testing, unlike many other countries which offer only selected roads or small, restricted geographical areas,’ Mullighan said.

He said the legislation provided safeguards, including requiring companies to submit detailed trial plans to the Government for approval. Companies will need ‘sufficient insurances’ to protect the public, with penalties still applying if tests breach road laws beyond the scope of the trial.

‘It is critical that the public has confidence that these trials will operate safely on our roads,’ he said