Autonomous vehicle safety concerns and industry legal changes

Data breaches and cybersecurity are still an issue in our minds, but could these issues be a future concern with autonomous vehicles?

Debates and concerns are being raised about data sharing between autonomous cars and how they will affect us in the future once cars drive themselves. A complex set of issues that need to be ironed out involve problems with safety, privacy, on-road practicality, networking, and cybersecurity. These areas need to be addressed for autonomous vehicles to become commonplace.

A key factor going forward is manufacturers sharing vehicle generated data with both the Federal and State governments within AVs (Automated Vehicles). Panellists at the recent Autonomous Vehicle Technology Conference (APAC21) in Melbourne discussed that this way of data sharing would be made as an agreement between both parties. Big automotive companies such as Toyota, Hyundai, and Kia are being slammed for failing to make legal requirements on data sharing. This is an issue in Australia, as well as the US and soon to be Europe, with concerns about blockages involving emerging technologies in AVs down the track. Dr Shane Richardson from Delta-V Experts in Melbourne’s West said “If they won’t start doing it for non-AVs then they’re not going to be doing it for AVs”. However, he does believe that first starting on non-AV’s as opposed to first starting on AV’s, will help them from trying to run before they walk.

One of the issues being worked on by the National Transport Commission (NTC) regards information requirements within AVs and identifications imposed on increasing automated vehicles. Consistency in agreements across the industry is always a talking point when monitoring performance of safety and operating software. If companies in the automotive industry stay on track with these areas, the future will look brighter in tackling data security issues. As directed by the transport ministers, the NTC has taken the lead in working through the nuts and bolts of regular legal proceedings concerning AV’s. CEO Jonathan Spear from Infrastructure Victoria stated that they have been asked questions around “responsibility, insurance, access to data, and standards when they enter the market”.

We run the risk of delaying AV’s coming to Australia, as well as manufacturers choosing not to send them, as our legislation does not match what is needed in other markets. This can well be the result if we do not align ourselves in this industry with what is happening around the world and make our own way. Laws of AV’s in Australia come into effect in 2026, so data sharing discussions need to be addressed particularly in safety, both locally and internationally to continue progress into the future. We can expect mandated requirements for Australia to come via Australian Design Regulators (ADR).

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