The South Australian Government has announced plans to invest $10 million into autonomous cars, just three days after Holden rolled the last Cruze off the production line at its Elizabeth Plant.
The funding will boost testing, research and development of connected and autonomous vehicles in South Australia, which was the first state to introduce laws to allow on-road trials for driverless cars as of March this year.
The State’s Transport Minister Stephen Mullighan will launch the initiative at the 23rd World Congress on Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) which will be held in Melbourne from today (10-14 October, 2016).
The proposal invites companies, industry bodies, research institutions and other organisations to submit proposals in a bit to accelerate the growth of autonomous and connected vehicle technology.
The projects must take place in South Australia, while overseas-based partnerships are encouraged to partner with a local business or organisation.
Despite wide criticism of autonomous cars, Mr Mullighan said “connected and autonomous vehicles can deliver huge benefits to South Australia – they have the capacity to reduce congestion, save lives and help people get around our community with more freedom.”
“We need to know more about what changes are needed to our roads and our laws so that this technology can improve safety on the roads, improve mobility for people with disabilities and reduce congestion and emissions.”
According to the minister, the industry will be worth an estimated $90 billion globally by 2030. “Getting our State involved early will open up new opportunities for South Australian businesses and our economy,” he said.
“Transforming the South Australian economy depends on our ability to adopt new ways of doing things, using advanced technologies to build globally competitive, high-value firms and sustainable, well-paid jobs.”
This comes just days after the Victorian Government announced a $1.2 million investment with Bosch for the first Australian-developed autonomous vehicle in a bid to improve road safety by 90 per cent.
The Victorian initiative will also partner with Transport Accident Commission and VicRoads and will be on display at the ITS World Congress 2016.
“By removing human error from the equation, self-driving vehicles will play a critical role in reducing deaths and serious injuries on Victorian roads,” said Victoria’s minister for Roads and Road Safety Luke Donnellan.