Automated and Driverless Vehicles (AV/DVs) offer the prospect of positive and fundamental changes to the way Australia’s cities work and how people utilise transport. At the highest level, AVs offer massive increases in road safety and capacity – and could see car ownership become the exception, with many choosing the lower costs and increased convenience of Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). 

But this shift will not of itself be autonomous – fully automated vehicles do not yet exist for general sale, they are illegal under current Australian laws, and the community has equal levels of excitement and fear about ceding control to AVs at all.

Our paper identifies three generalised approaches for policymakers to the prospect of AVs, which we describe as: 

1. A low road: where regulation and investment severely lags AV adoption; 

2. A middle road: where regulation is responsive, but follows observed community choices; and 

3. A high road: where the government sector ‘picks winners’ in advance of community adoption.

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