The paper seeks feedback on four regulatory options for a safety assurance system for automated vehicle technology. Following consultation the NTC intends to present a preferred regulatory option to transport ministers in November 2017.
NTC asks whether there is a need for explicit regulation of automated driving functions, above existing transport and consumer law and if so what form that should take.
The paper examines:
– how safety of automated vehicle functions should be assessed
– the options for a safety assurance system
– the criteria that should be used to decide among those options
– institutional arrangements, road access and compliance.
It says that, from a regulatory perspective, there are four key issues:
– Should governments have a role assuring the safety of automated vehicles?
– What are our measures of safety, and what is the level of safety required?
– How does a safety assurance system balance safety outcomes with innovation, certainty and regulatory efficiency?
– Where does a safety assurance system fit within the existing regulatory framework for road transport, and how does it interact with existing laws?
It lists the four options as being
Continue current approach – no additional regulatory oversight, with an emphasis on existing safeguards in Australian Consumer Law and road transport laws.
Self-certification – manufacturers make a statement of compliance against high-level safety criteria developed by government. This could be supported by a primary safety duty to provide safe automated vehicles.|
Pre-market approval – automated driving systems are certified by a government agency as meeting minimum prescribed technical standards prior to market entry.
Accreditation – accreditation agency accredits an automated driving system entity. The accredited party demonstrates it has identified and managed safety risks to a legal standard of care.
NTC CEO, Paul Retter said Australia’s transport ministers had asked the NTC to look at what level of regulation is needed to ensure automated driving technologies are safe now and into the future.
“Australian governments are starting to remove legislative barriers to more automated road vehicles. Without a safety assurance system, these vehicles could potentially be deployed with no government oversight or regulatory intervention,” he said.
“These technologies are highly innovative, technically advanced and varied, and we don’t yet know if they will be safe. We need a mechanism that supports innovation without unnecessary red tape, but also assures the Australian public that automated vehicles are safe.”
He added: “This is a significant reform in road transport. Over time we will see the risks associated with the driving task shift away from the human driver towards the automated driving system and our regulatory system must be able to accommodate this shift,”
Submissions to the discussion paper are due by 4pm, Friday, 28 July 2017.