Australia’s peak motor industry body has thrown its full support behind the need for a clear, government-mandated roadmap for the roll-out of automated vehicle technology.
The Chief Executive of the Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries, Tony Weber, said that the report released by economist Brian Haratsis for the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI) yesterday was valuable in revealing the full extent of the economic opportunity presented by this new technology.
“Mr Haratsis’s report adds impetus to that which we, as an industry, have been advocating consistently for the past few years. That is: with strong government support and direction, automated transport has the potential to dramatically improve our way of life,” Mr Weber said.
The ADVI report also said that Australia could play a key role in being an exporter of intelligent mobility which could inject up to $15 billion a year into the Australian economy and create 7,500 direct jobs, plus an additional 8,500 indirect jobs.
“The report clearly outlines the benefits this technology, given the appropriate amount of nurturing and support, can deliver for Australia,” Mr Weber said.
“An important initial step has been taken by the Australian Communications and Media Authority which has recently confirmed its intention to allocate a dedicated band for Coordinated Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS) by early next year, and this is the digital foundation block – the common language – for an integrated, automated and connected driving network across Australia.
“The roadway is now open and clear for this technology to be progressed and start to deliver enormous benefits for the Australian community not just through the obvious easing of traffic congestion, but making our roads safer, reducing fatigue and stress, and potentially changing how people live and work.”
ADVI is advocating for the development of a five-year funding and incentive package focussed on research, development, demonstration and deployment similar to the UK’s 100 million-pound (AUD$177 million) Intelligent Mobility Fund, which is expected to fast-track an estimated AUD$1.6 trillion in productivity benefits for the UK.
The ADVI report also cites research predicting shared autonomous vehicles will account for 10 per cent of vehicle sales by 2030, and 30 per cent of all kilometres travelled.
“Australia has world-class design, engineering and technical capabilities but what also needs to be remembered that our vehicle fleet of 18 million is tiny compared with the rest of the world,” Mr Weber said.
“While we have the capability to value add enormously to the R&D effort that is going on with C-ITS around the world, we also need to ensure whatever governance and framework we put around our proposed C-ITS network completely integrates with those of the EU, which shares our 5.9 Gigahertz digital band.
“A national approach is vital, and by doing so will optimise all the opportunities that C-ITS presents to us.”