New South Wales is pushing to encourage autonomous car trials on its roads, as Victoria and South Australia power ahead with their own plans to drive development within their states.
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Transport for New South Wales has announced a $10 million fund for connected and autonomous vehicle trials, as it looks to ramp up self-driving research within its borders.

Released yesterday, the fund is part of a Connected and Automated Vehicles Plan outlining how to create a "sustainable transport system that improves on safety, efficiency and the customer experience" for users.

According to the document, the NSW Government will focus on "accelerating the adoption of connected and automated vehicles" over the next five years.

The plan calls for the following developments over its duration:

  • Support implementation of nationally-consistent regulation, standards, policies and safety assurance regimes to ensure conditionally automated vehicles (Level 3) can operate safely and legally on NSW roads before 2020, and highly and fully automated vehicles (Levels 4 and 5) from 2020
  • Increase the proportion of passenger and freight vehicles in NSW with the latest semi-autonomous safety technologies
  • Develop appropriate evidence-based transport, infrastructure and land-use policies and plans supporting the optimal use of CAVs
  • Build infrastructure capability to support at-scale operations of partially, conditionally and highly automated vehicles (Levels 2, 3 and 4) on motorways and major roads
  • Introduce expanded operations, at scale, of connected and highly automated vehicle (Level 4) services supporting the most efficient movement of people and goods
  • Develop a framework and clear policies, standards and protocols around data sharing, privacy and security relating to CAVs
  • Build digital capabilities and data platforms for CAV data to improve performance and service delivery, and enable smarter approaches
  • Incorporate digital infrastructure into major roads to support connected, and conditionally and highly automated (levels 3 and 4) vehicles
  • Have trials and policies in place that support the best customer and community outcomes with CAVs – aligned to Future Transport 2056 outcomes
  • Increase customer information, acceptance and use of CAVs through communications, demonstrations and trials

New South Wales isn't alone in trying to accelerate autonomous vehicle development within its borders – far from it, in fact. Infrastructure Victoria last year released a report into the potential benefits of properly preparing for the onset of autonomy, claiming it could improve the efficiency of our roads by 91 per cent.

It says the benefits won't come around magically, though. The report calls for the Victorian Government to "champion automated and zero emissions vehicles through a mix of smart regulatory and policy settings and targeted infrastructure investments" to make it happen.