The South Australian Bill can apply to any technology
relating to "advances in the design or construction of motor
No longer a prospect of the future, driverless technologies are
fast becoming a reality in Australia with the introduction of the
Motor Vehicles (Trials of Automotive Technologies) Amendment Bill
to the South Australian House of Assembly.
The Bill, introduced in September, proposes to amend the Motor
Vehicles Act 1959 (SA) to allow on-road trials of driverless
vehicles in South Australia, and to exempt such trials from select
laws. The Bill has potential application beyond driverless
technology and can apply to any technology relating to
"advances in the design or construction of motor
Under the Bill, trials of automotive technology may be
authorised by the Minister for Transport and Planning, by notice
published in the Government Gazette. The notice must set out
details of the trial, such as the area where the trial may take
place, the trial period and the scope and nature of the trial. The
Minister must also publish details of the trial on a website
determined by the Minister.
Companies conducting trials will need to have in place
appropriate public liability insurance policies for the trial. They
may also be granted exemptions from select laws by the Minister,
upon application to the Minister or on the Minister's own
initiative. Such exemptions can include conditions imposed by the
Minister, and failure to comply with any of these conditions can
attract a fine of up to $2,500, in addition to prosecution in
respect of the law to which the exemption relates.
The Bill includes some protections for companies conducting
trials, by requiring the Minister to take reasonable steps to
prevent commercially sensitive information from being made public;
and imposing penalties for persons who hinder or obstruct a trial
without reasonable excuse, including interfering with any trial
equipment, of up to $10,000.
The Minister is required to prepare a report in relation to the
trial within six months after the trial is completed, which must be
tabled in Parliament.
The South Australian Government hopes the Bill will put South
Australia on the map for the driverless vehicle industry, which is
projected to be worth $90 billion in 15 years. Technology and
automotive companies such as Google, Mercedes-Benz, Audi and Tesla
Motors have been testing driverless vehicle technologies over the
past few years. Telstra, Bosch and Volvo will be participating in
the first Australian driverless vehicle trials, to be conducted on
the Southern Expressway in South Australia in early November
Clayton Utz communications are intended to provide
commentary and general information. They should not be relied upon
as legal advice. Formal legal advice should be sought in particular
transactions or on matters of interest arising from this bulletin.
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This decision will be significant to aviation industry participants in assessing whether claimants in the context of international or domestic carriage by air have commenced claims in an appropriate forum in Australia.
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