Flight of fancy or fantastic future? Everyday Australians get to quiz expert panel about a world with driverless vehicles

Australians from right across the country will have a unique opportunity to tap into the knowledge of a panel of the nation’s foremost experts on driverless vehicles as part of the 2nd International Driverless Vehicle Summit to be held in Adelaide in November.

Panel member and Chairman of MacroPlan, Mr Brian Haratsis, predicts the impact of driverless vehicles will be bigger and faster than mobile phones, and says this special event could be a defining moment as the Federal Government wrestles with the 2017 Standing Committee recommendation to set up a new body or taskforce to facilitate the introduction of autonomous vehicles.

“Australians continue to be keenly interested in driverless vehicles, and this interactive hypothetical panel session provides the perfect platform for people to find out what our road network might look like within the next decade,” Mr Haratsis said.

“While many of our cars already have aspects of assisted technology – like lane assist, auto parking and cruise control – fully driverless vehicles are yet to make their mainstream debut on Australian roads. That means many people are still trying to understand what it all means and probably have more questions than answers about how they will be affected,” he said.

“This transport technology is a game-changer, and as one of only a handful of countries pioneering on-road driverless vehicle research, Australia and New Zealand is becoming a global leader in the development and deployment of driverless vehicle technologies, and invigorate its automotive and technology sectors.”

“While winning the hearts and minds of the public is one of our biggest hurdles, a recent ADVI survey has shown that people have an open mind. Most people said they were comfortable with a driverless vehicle controlling most driving functions, while 82% agreed that fully automated cars would offer enhanced mobility for people driving with impairments or restrictions.”

The panel is expected to explore the potential issues and barriers that could derail Australia embracing an autonomous vehicle future and is keen to hear from people about what is needed to bring them along on the journey.

Panel Member and Ethics Expect at RAC, Ms Anna Sawyer, says “before we can move to driverless vehicles we need to enable vehicles to make an informed decision of what type of crash is acceptable where a driverless vehicle is involved. Crashes will be fewer but they will still occur, so who makes the decision of who lives, dies or is injured when a driverless vehicle is involved? Someone must ultimately program it to respond to certain situations – so we need to explore a range of issues to influence the introduction of this technology into our road network.”

“Driverless vehicles of all shapes, sizes and uses will be here within the next 10 years, and that relatively short timeframe means it is critical for ADVI and its program partners to work with industry and government to help encourage community understanding of the economic, environmental and lifestyle benefits offered by driverless vehicles,” she said.

In advance of the hypothetical panel session a discussion paper has been developed, which provides a possible glimpse of what Australia’s road network could look like in 2027 and prompt thought-provoking and insightful questions from across the community.

The expert panel includes:
• Mr Dickson Leow – Technical Expert – ADVI
• Ms Anna Sawyer Ethics Expert – RAC
• Mr David McCullam – Future Eye
• Mr Brian Haratsis – Chairman of MacroPlan; and
• Mr Mark Borlace – RAA
• Cheng Lim – King & Wood Mallesons

The hypothetical discussion paper can be downloaded from here.

To propose a question during the interactive session – which is 1.30pm-3pm (ACDT) on Friday 17th November – simply use your smartphone and search for ‘Sli.do’ to access the app, and then enter U900 for the Summit.

The 2nd International Driverless Vehicle Summit – which will be held in Adelaide, South Australia on 16-17 November 2017 – has a theme of ‘Translating technology to real world deployment’, and delegates will hear updates from an array of prominent ADVI partners and other national and international experts.

More about the Summit and the exciting 2-day program can be found at idvs2017.com.au

About the Australia and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI)
ADVI is the peak body that spans the wide ecosystem of driverless vehicles in Australia and New Zealand. With a membership of 100 leading organisations across a wide range of sectors, ADVI offers a unique opportunity for Government to collaborate with Industry and researchers, to position Australia and New Zealand amongst the world leaders in the development and deployment of driverless technology. ADVI’s education, advocacy and demonstration efforts help to inform and raise awareness, encourage community acceptance, and ensure understanding of the economic, environmental and lifestyle benefits of driverless vehicles.

Media contacts:
ADVI – Adam Thomson on 0430 420 120 or adam@leveragepr.com.au