Australia is counting on driverless cars and other new technology to make a dent in the $27 billion a year cost of road trauma.
The latest advancements in self driving cars and intelligent transport are being demonstrated in Melbourne, at a global conference with more than 7000 delegates.
“We believe that road trauma is costing the government across Australia in the order of $27 billion per year,” federal Transport Minister Darren Chester told said on Monday.
“If we can get a reduction in road deaths and serious injuries through investment in new technology, it’s going to save money for governments.
“But perhaps more importantly it’s going to save communities from enormous trauma and emotional harm.”
Driverless cars are some years away, but Mr Chester said technology already available can help save lives and determine why crashes happen.
“It will assist us in deciding who’s at fault in an accident. You’re going to get real information about how a crash occurred,” he said.
Mr Chester, who is also Infrastructure Minister, said congestion could be relieved through new technology rather than extra lanes on the freeway.
VicRoads is keen for the state to embrace self-driving cars to improve safety.
“We feel as though there are potentially big upsides, upsides in safety, upsides in productivity, that we should be hungry for this, we should be pushing for this into our jurisdiction,” VicRoads chief executive John Merritt told 3AW on Monday.