Topics / Safety / Automated vehicle trial guidelines (policy work complete)

Developing national guidelines for on-road trials of automated vehicles in Australia.

Automated vehicle trial guidelines (policy work complete)

  • Scoping > 
  • Analysing issues > 
  • Analysing options > 
  • Implementing


Automated vehicles are likely to fundamentally change transport and society by improving road safety, freight productivity and network efficiency.

However, current regulations do not adequately support automated road vehicles. In November 2016, Australian transports ministers agreed to a phased reform program so that conditionally automated vehicles can operate safely and legally on our roads before 2020, and highly and fully automated vehicles from 2020.

We are implementing a roadmap of reform to prepare Australia for automated road vehicles. Phase one of this reform agenda was developing national guidelines for on-road trials of automated vehicles in Australia.

Next steps

The Guidelines for trials of automated vehicles in Australia were approved by transport ministers in May 2017 after an intensive six month project.

States and territories are now able to implement the guidelines for trials taking place in their jurisdictions.

The accompanying policy paper provides further information and summarises the responses we received from consultation. The guidelines will be reviewed every two years. 

The NTC undertook further policy work in 2017 to confirm that these guidelines can be used for trials of automated vehicles on both roads and road-related areas. This includes trials of small automated vehicles. Read further information about the NTC’s small automated vehicles work.

The following projects are also part of the roadmap of reform:

Please note: The Guidelines PDF is not optimised for Internet Explorer. We recommend using Chrome or Firefox browsers when viewing or downloading the PDF. 


Our work in this area began in November 2015 after the Transport and Infrastructure Council asked us to identify regulatory barriers to safely introducing more automated road and rail vehicles in Australia.

In November 2016, the NTC released a policy paper, Regulatory reforms for automated road vehicles. This concluded a one year project to research the regulatory barriers and develop recommendations to support future reform.

Transport ministers approved all eight recommendations outlined in the policy paper and charged the NTC with delivering the recommended regulatory reform agenda.

For more information, see Automated vehicles in Australia.

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Contact us

Project Manager Natasha Bolsin
Last Updated: 30/5/2018