South Australia introduces on-road automated testing for driverless vehicles Australia’s State governments are starting to address the myriad of legal and regulatory challenges presented by automated vehicles. On 31 March 2016, the Motor Vehicles (Trials of Automotive Technologies) Amendment Act 2016 came into force in South Australia. This Act amends the Motor Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) to allow for trials of automotive technologies such as automatic or "driverless" cars. Under these changes, the South Australian Minister for Transport has the power to authorise automotive technology trials, provided that certain conditions are met (such as public liability insurance arrangements). Furthermore, it is now an offence for a person to interfere with an automotive technology trial, or to interfere with an electronic signal being sent to or from the equipment or device which is the subject of the trial. This legislative scheme is the first of its type in Australia, and follows the release of a discussion paper by the National Transport Commission (NTC) in May 2016 on regulatory options for automatic vehicles. The discussion paper identifies regulatory barriers which need to be addressed in order to ensure clarity around the status of automated vehicles on Australia's roads and to support further trials. It considers key regulatory issues such as: • the importance of a national approach to law-making in this area; • allocation of responsibility and liability in relation to the "control" of automated vehicles; and • the availability of compulsory third party insurance and state-based accident compensation schemes for people injured in a collision with an automated vehicle. Clarifying what is required for the legal operation of automated vehicles, and the trials which must precede them, are vital to support innovation, investment and consumer confidence. Stakeholders also include the Insurance Council of Australia, who recently expressed its concern to a New South Wales parliamentary inquiry into self-drive cars, noting that "the question of who has control of an autonomous or driverless vehicle at any point in time presents significant challenges for determining liability for loss and damage." Submissions to the discussion paper closed on 11 July 2016. The NTC will now take stakeholder feedback into consideration in preparing its policy recommendations, which are due for submission to the Council of Australian Government's Transport and Infrastructure Council in November 2016. A copy of the South Australian legislation is available here. The NTC website and discussion paper can be accessed here. For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Allgrove, Toby Patten or Matthew Dempsey.