Institute for Future


22 June 2017

With tech giants such as Apple and Google already working on autonomous vehicles, babies born today may never need to drive, a major self-driving car forum held at QUT has heard.

More than 100 representatives from state and local government and industry sectors attended the 'Closing the Technology Loop on Self-Driving Cars' forum on 14 June 2017 to discuss the rapidly emerging technology of autonomous vehicles.

Expert researchers from QUT say the future of self-driving cars is here and road safety, the automotive industry and the law will all be disrupted as governments, industry and society address the challenge of bringing these vehicles to Australian streets.

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QUT robotics and autonomous systems expert, Associate Professor Michael Milford explained technology had rapidly advanced the present and future capabilities of self-driving cars.

“In a city of driverless cars, every 30 human controlled cars could be replaced by one driverless car within the next ten years."

Motor Trades Association of Queensland CEO, Dr Brett Dale said the future of cars as we know them is about to change and the automotive industry needs to adapt to keep pace.

“Humans have underestimated how much technology has changed our expectations - automotive industries face enormous disruption from driverless cars. Industries like panel beaters will need to look at new business opportunities as driverless cars promise less car crashes."

QUT Professor of Health Law and New Technologies, Belinda Bennett told the forum that self-driving cars have a wide range of legal and regulatory implications.

“There are many legal issues to consider: for example, how driverless cars will affect road rules, privacy, liability and law changes when driving across regional borders.

“It gets harder to define who the driver of a driverless car is – in the case of an accident, who is at fault – the driver or the manufacturer?

“Community engagement, flexibility and clarity are key to successfully regulating driverless cars both now and in the future,” Professor Bennett said.

Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety – Queensland (CARRS-Q) Director Professor Narelle Haworth explained that while driverless cars promise safety advantages, humans need to consider how much control to give them.

The forum was presented by QUT Institute for Future Environments, and supported by Real World Futures.

QUT Self-driving cars forum, 14 June 2017


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