Hundreds of millions of dollars need to be spent to prepare WA roads for driverless cars by 2025.
In a submission to a Federal parliamentary committee, the RAC called for a $300 million investment in intelligent transport systems in WA including more trials of autonomous vehicles.
It comes after the RAC notched its 2000th passenger on its driverless bus trial in South Perth.
In its submission to the standing committee on industry, innovation, science and resources, the RAC said autonomous vehicle technology was rapidly advancing with vehicles becoming increasingly automated and requiring less driver intervention.
“Research suggests that AVs could deliver many benefits including improved mobility and independence for many and reduced crash risk and severity by removing human error for instance,” it said.
“Conversely, increasing automation does also raise many potential considerations that will need to be explored, including issues such as system failures, cybersecurity and liability in the event of crashes.”
Additional trials were needed to provide a better understanding of driverless cars and increase community awareness of them.
“For AV technology to really make an impact on road safety, there needs to be a greater understanding about the potential benefits of the technology in vehicle design and standards,” the submission said.
“Government at all levels will have a leading role in shaping the future with autonomous vehicles. “A well considered road map will be essential to facilitate the safe transition of AVs on to our roads and maximise the benefits through ensuring they form part of an integrated transport system.
“To achieve this, investment in intelligent transport systems will be crucial to ensure that AV technology can be integrated with new and existing infrastructure.
“The timely development and implementation of technology solutions will be crucial in ensuring WA and other Australian States are well positioned to capitalise on, and realise the benefits of, the advancements in vehicle autonomy.”
RAC public policy general manager Anne Still said the South Perth trial was one of the most progressive in the world and had generated a lot of public interest, with more than 6000 people registering to be part of the trial.
“The trial will continue at South Perth to allow more people to use, experience and share their views on the technology so we can continue to explore the future impact it will have on WA,” she said.
“We are learning so much from the trial because it’s the first time this technology has been tested on this scale in a real world, local environment.”