Transport Minister Simon Bridges says an announcement by Volvo and the New Zealand Traffic Institute (Trafinz) of an autonomous vehicle trial is a first for the country.
“This is will be the first trial of its kind in New Zealand and reflects our world-leading regulation around autonomous vehicles, which encourages new technology while protecting public safety,” he says.
Bridges adds that the government is “ensuring New Zealand stays at the forefront of transport innovation.” The government has recently reviewed rules relating to autonomous vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and Small Passenger Service operators.
“Autonomous vehicles will be a big part of the future of transport and offer potential safety, efficiency and environmental benefits. It is exciting to see international recognition that New Zealand is at the forefront of enabling this technology.”
He says that testing the technology in New Zealand enables an understanding of how the technology responds to the New Zealand environment, and allows the transport sector to gain skills in managing new technology.
Volvo and Trafinz plan to demonstrate the technology in Tauranga in November, as part of Trafinz’s national transport conference. The New Zealand Transport Agency and Ministry of Transport are working with the two companies to ensure the trial operates within the law, including managing any safety risks.