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Victoria Set For Driverless Cars Test

Autonomous vehicles could soon be bobbing in and out of traffic.

15/12/2016 10:33 AM AEDT | Updated 15/12/2016 7:07 PM AEDT
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Google's self driving car enters the Google X Headquarters garage.

Victorians will soon see automated vehicles on their roads, as the state government begins testing the vehicles in the new year.

From early next year, a range of automated vehicles will be trialed on the Monash-Citylink-Tullamarine corridor, in a partnership between the Labor Government and Transurban.

The trial will test vehicles currently on the market to understand how autonomous vehicle technology interacts with real-life road infrastructure such as overhead lane signals, electronic speed signs and line markings.

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A Bayerische Motoren Werke AG (BMW) automobile is parked via a mobile device remote control during a smart trailer parking demonstration in Boxberg, Germany.

"We want to work with the automotive and technology industries so Victoria can be at the forefront of automated vehicle technology and create jobs here in Victoria," Minister for Roads Luke Donnellan said in a statement.

"Keeping people safe on our roads is our number one priority and that's why we're running these innovative trials in the safest possible way for all road users."

VicRoads will engage with industry to seek feedback on the Labor Government's Future Directions Paper, which outlines the need for regulatory changes to allow testing of highly automated vehicles on our roads.

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The market for automated-driving systems might total $42 billion by 2025, Boston Consulting Group estimated in January.

The focus is on how to ensure road safety during testing on public roads, what constitutes a driver 'being in control', and understanding how the changing technology will interact with our transport system.

It will also work to create a framework to allow for a wide range of vehicles to be trialled on Victoria's roads, potentially including highly automated vehicles, where a driver is not in control of the vehicle.

"Highly automated vehicles have the potential to significantly boost road safety, relieve congestion and improve social mobility. We are pleased to partner with the Victorian Government to look at how these vehicles could one day deliver benefits for local road users," Transurban CEO Scott Charlton said.

The introduction of highly-automated vehicles has the potential to help Victoria achieve its Towards Zero vision -- a future free of deaths and serious injuries on the state's roads, the government said.

The consultation runs from 15 December to 3 February.

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