NSW government earmarks $10 million for driverless cars

Posted: 23 June 2018 1:31 am

Automated vehicles on road

NSW’s state government has made $10 million available for a dedicated automated vehicle development fund.

As part of the NSW government's 2018-2019 budget announced on Tuesday, state ministers will dedicate $10 million towards the progression of self-driving vehicles.

NSW future car technology schemes

In the last year alone, state representatives have authorised several automated vehicle trials. As part of the evaluations, car makers will put self-driving machines on the Sydney Orbital network. Last year, NSW’s road minister Melinda Pavey announced a pilot study of autonomous shuttle buggies in Sydney’s Olympic Park. It is no surprise then that ministers have set aside a large sum of money for driverless vehicle projects.

Bringing the future forward

Treasurer for NSW Dominic Perrottet said his government wanted to bring the future forward. Perrottet asserted the technology will improve lives across the state.

“The future belongs to those who hear it coming, and this investment looks to harness the power of technology to improve lives across the State,” Perrottet said in a statement.

How will driverless vehicles improve citizens lives? Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight, Melinda Pavey was excited at the prospects of improving road safety.

“This technology offers so many opportunities to significantly decrease our road toll numbers, so that is why we have to look at embracing it now and getting it right,” Perrottet said.

Who’s in charge of the money?

Transport for NSW’s Smart Innovation Centre is in charge of overseeing the fund. It will be broken up into $2.5 million annually over the next four years. The NSW minister for transport and infrastructure Andrew Constance explained how the money will enable a range of organisations and authorities to work together on the development of automated vehicles.

“Having a dedicated fund for trials will mean that government, universities, the private sector and start-ups can partner together to test and gain insights into how these technologies will shape our future cities and regions,” Constance said.

Driverless vehicle technology is here

Constance pointed out that only ten years ago things like smartwatches and ride-sharing services were viewed as cartoon-like depictions of futuristic tech.

“A decade ago things like Uber and smartwatches seemed like something out of the Jetsons. Driverless cars might feel a bit like that today but the reality is they are already being built and tested around the world. The technology is here and we are going to make sure we are ready to embrace it," said Constance.

In practice, researchers place the arrival and adoption of vehicles capable of operating themselves around the year 2030. These vehicles have the potential to radically shake-up the insurance market, so the sector is keeping a close eye on their progression. Right now, there are production models equipped with smart driving assists, and some insurers will offer discounts for cars fitted with forward collision warnings or automated emergency braking.

In car news

Picture: Shutterstock

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