Today the NSW Taxi Council announced its partnership with the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative (ADVI).
ADVI is a partnership of government, industry and academic organisations working collaboratively to research, investigate and help inform the development of robust national policy, legislation, regulation and operational procedures and processes to bring driverless vehicles safely and successfully to Australian roads.
Chief Executive Officer of the NSW Taxi Council, Mr Roy Wakelin-King, said that autonomous vehicles will have a big impact on the NSW Taxi Industry and it is therefore important that the industry is prepared to deal with these impacts as they become a reality.
“Our involvement with ADVI will therefore be an important partnership to help us take advantage of the opportunities and also meet the challenges that autonomous vehicles will create,” he said.
“With the recent announcements by Ford, Volvo and the Singapore Government, autonomous taxis are not far away. It is likely that we will see trials of autonomous taxis in NSW and Australia before the end of the decade.
“As I outlined at the NSW Government’s Future Transport Summit in April 2016, autonomous vehicles will be here faster than we realise and it is vital that we are ready for this future. However, I also reiterated that taxis will not be entirely driverless, as autonomous vehicles will not always be the correct solution to everyone’s service needs.
“This is why drivers will still need to play a part in a world of autonomous vehicles. Their roles may be different to what they are today, but not every vehicle can be without a person to provide full customer care when it is required,” Mr Wakelin-King said.
“Providing choice is important when delivering taxi services and being able to order a vehicle with or without a driver is something we will want to do for our customers in the future.
“This will be particularly important for people with disabilities and the elderly, as well as people who will want a higher level of support during their point to point journey.”
Executive Director of the ADVI Centre of Excellence said, “It is evident from research and modelling that there will be significant social, environmental and economic benefits from the introduction of shared driverless vehicles into our transport system.
“We look forward to working with the NSW Taxi Council to explore through collaboration how Australia can usher in this technology in a safe and efficient way.”