The Australian Government is asking for input from the public as it works on legislation to set safety and accountability standards for self-driving vehicles and their operators.

    The consultation period, which closes on June 11, 2024, builds on previous government work and looks at how some of what has been previously agreed upon will fit into new Commonwealth legislation.

    It comes as the Government prepares for the possibility of some automated vehicles entering the Australian market from 2026.

    It considers a vehicle with an automated driving system (ADS) something that is “able to drive – that is, perform the entire dynamic driving task – on a sustained basis without human input… for all or part of a journey”.

    That means Level 3, 4 and 5 autonomous vehicles, which offer varying levels of hands-free driving capability.

    The Government has identified that new, consistent laws are needed to manage the safety of automated vehicles, because existing laws apply only to human drivers.

    As such, the regulatory framework will introduce the new Automated Vehicle Safety Law (AVSL), which will place the responsibility for the safety of an automated driving system on a corporation – rather than the human driver.

    The Government has identified that the corporation, which will be known as the Automated Driving System Entity (ADSE), will be required to have the “right skills, capacity and capabilities” to manage and maintain the automated driving system over its operational lifetime.

    The ADSE will also be responsible for the safety of automated vehicles around all road users, including pedestrians and cyclists.

    The new legislation will be supported by existing legislation like the Road Vehicle Standards Act 2018, and complementary changes to state and territory legislation.

    The resulting framework will include ensuring an automated vehicle is safe when first supplied in Australia, ensuring the ADSE has the right skills and capabilities to take responsibility for the safety of the ADS, and keeping the ADS safe when it’s operating on the road through clear safety duties.

    It will also make clear the responsibilities for those who use and interact with an automated vehicle.

    The framework consultation will look at whether additional measures are needed to manage the influence of repairers, maintainers and modifiers on the safety of an ADS, as well as ways to promote consumer understanding of automated vehicle capabilities.

    Under consideration are also obligations for ADS users under state and territory laws, and whether measures are needed to control the risk of deployment of automated vehicles before the framework is in place.

    Following the consultation, the Australian Government will analyse the information gathered to inform the design of the regulatory framework, which includes the AVSL.

    To submit your input, visit the National Transport Commission’s website. Alternatively, email

    The public consultation information document is available here.

    MORE: How autonomous is my car? Levels of self-driving explained

    Max Davies

    Max Davies is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Max studied journalism at La Trobe University and stepped into the automotive world after graduating in late 2023. He grew up in regional Victoria, and with a passion for everything motorsport is a fan of Fernando Alonso.

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