Science and Technology

How ready is Australia for autonomous vehicles?

autonomous vehicles

How ready are countries for autonomous vehicles? KPMG has issued a grade for 20 countries, in its recently-issued Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index. Australia is one of the 20 … so how did we do?

The report was put together to assess ‘countries’ openness and preparedness for autonomous vehicles’. In his foreword to the report, KPMG’s Global Head of Infrastructure, Richard Threlfall, outlined his reasons for the report:

“The world is on the cusp of a transport revolution. Technology is transforming the industry, and the pace of innovation is accelerating. It will affect us all. It will not only change the way we travel, but the way we live. It will change the way we spend our time at leisure, and at work. It will change the way businesses import materials, distribute their products, and employ staff.”

Each assessed country was given a score across the following four categories:

  • Policy and legislation
  • Technology and innovation
  • Infrastructure
  • Consumer acceptance

Those countries that were marked well achieved their results by ranking well in these areas:

  • Governments willing to regulate and support AV development
  • Excellent road and mobile network infrastructure
  • Private investment and innovation
  • Large-scale testing powered by a strong automotive industry presence
  • A proactive government that attracts partnerships with manufacturers


The rankings



Australia’s rank

As you can see in the ranking table above, overall Australia came in at number 14, with a mark of 19.40. At first reading that’s not terribly good, but it is worth noting that we’re only 1.5 points out of appearing in eighth place.

The report marked Australia well on its AV-related policy and legislation, and made particular mention of the Government’s national guidelines for AV trials on roads. It might also have incorporated the Government’s ‘Social issues relating to land-based automated vehicles ‘in Australia‘ report into this assessment. Australia also received the ‘maximum score for the quality of its mobile networks’. And the population scored well for its openness in embracing new technologies.

Factors that saw us score not quite so strongly were:

  • Few AV technology company headquarters and patents
  • Few Australians driving electric vehicles (probably due to the fact that they’re not currently a good value proposition at the in comparison to elsewhere in the world)
  • Few electric charging stations (was the report aware of the recent Queensland Electric Super Highway?)
  • Availability of 4G (I presume we’re marked down here on availability in regional Australia)
  • Quality of roads (to which I would say that the report probably assessed that on the total Australian road network, including the many unsealed roads of central and regional Australia – if so that would be be something of an unfair weight in the rating)

There has been a lot of recent trials and projects in intelligent transport systems in Australia, so we look forward to seeing Australia climb the ratings ladder in the 2019 edition of this report.

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