Regional communities across the state will have the chance to be the first town in NSW to trial an automated vehicle. Minister for Roads, Maritime and Freight Melinda Pavey alongside Member for Wagga Wagga Daryl Maguire and Wesley Fang MLC today opened expressions of interest for a regional trial. Mrs Pavey said the NSW Government is currently trialling the state’s first fully automated vehicle at Newington Armory, through the collaboration between the Smart Innovation Centre and Industry partners.

    “We want to test this technology outside of the Greater Sydney area so that our regional communities can be part of our future planning when it comes to driverless vehicles,” Mrs Pavey said. “Country people account for only one third of the state’s population but tragically two thirds of all fatalities in NSW occur in country areas. “Currently, 94 per cent of road accidents result from human error. Automated vehicles remove the human element of driving, which will help bring the road toll down Towards Zero.

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    “There’s still some way to go before automated vehicles become common place on our roads, but as a government, we’re exploring smarter systems and technology-driven solutions,” Mrs Pavey said. Mr Maguire said it is important to make sure regional communities, like Wagga Wagga, get the opportunity to experience and realise the benefits automated vehicles will bring beyond the city limits. “Today, we drive our cars but the reality is, in the future our cars will drive us – we’re not there yet, but we need prepare for this change,” Mr Maguire said.

    “We want to hear from the leaders in technology, industry innovators, local councils, universities and community transport operators to explore this exciting area of technology.” Mr Fang said the Government wants to work with stakeholders to identify transport solutions that improve quality of life for regional Australians. “It is crucial that people in country towns and regional cities have access to the services they need.”