A new $10 million fund dedicated to expanding trials of driverless vehicles will forms part of the New South Wales Budget, ensuring that the State keeps up with the moving pace of technology.
Autonomous and connected vehicle technology is taking the world by storm with driverless vehicles already on the streets of San Francisco, Singapore and Paris and Sydney is set to be next.
NSW Treasurer Dominic Perrottet said that this year’s Budget was about building for tomorrow and delivering for today and that innovation was a key component feeding that mantra.
“The future belongs to those who hear it coming, and this investment looks to harness the power of technology to improve lives across the State,” said Mr. Perrottet.
NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance, who has been at the forefront of driving technology to deliver transport, said that the future was here and we need to be ready.
“A decade ago things like Uber and smart watches seemed like something out of the Jetsons,” said Mr. Constance.
“Driverless cars might feel a bit like that today but the reality is they are already being built and tested around the world. The technology is here and we are going to make sure we are ready to embrace it.
“Having a dedicated fund for trials will mean that government, universities, the private sector and start-ups can partner together to test and gain insights into how these technologies will shape our future cities and regions.
“Driverless vehicles are going to change the playing field and open up so many new opportunities to provide personalised transport services,” he said.
NSW Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey said that she was excited for what automated vehicles could do to make road fatalities become a thing of the past.
“This technology offers so many opportunities to significantly decrease our road toll numbers, so that is why we have to look at embracing it now and getting it right,” said Ms. Pavey.
In 2017, legislation was passed to allow trials of connected and automated vehicles in NSW. The first trial under the legislation is underway with a driverless Smart Shuttle at Olympic Park.
The fund contains $2.5 million per year over four years and will be administered by Transport for NSW’s Smart Innovation Centre who will identify projects and partnerships.