Driverless vehicles: Will they be inclusive?

Graphic showing an orange vehicle on a dark blue background with circles indicating the vehicle is communicating with the environment Discussions about automated vehicles often include comments about improved mobility for people currently unable to drive. It is assumed people with disability, older people and children will have improved mobility options as this technology is rolled out. But is anyone seriously looking at this aspect? In the excitement of embracing this technology, as with many new developments, there is no guarantee that this group will be considered in the early development phases. So should this aspect fall under the responsibility of the National Disability Strategy to make sure all citizens are included in this major technological change? Two reports explaining the pros and cons of automated vehicles and the issues yet to be solved mention social equity issues, but have little to say about it otherwise.

The Landcom report on page 10 comments that issues of inclusion are talked about but no one has yet looked into it properly. According the report, the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative is looking at people with a ‘minor’ impairment as a start point. The Infrastructure Partnerships Australia report gives this idea a brief mention on page 14. Both reports give detailed information and cover all the issues well in terms of technology, infrastructure, policy and regulation. Worth a read, or just a browse, if you want to get across the issues.

Amy Child, Associate Transport and Cities at Arup, will give an overview of future transport at the upcoming Australian Universal Design Conference in Brisbane 4-5 September 2018.

The Landcom report is a literature review and is titled, Urban Policy Implications of CAV in Bays Precinct. The Infrastructure Partnerships Australia report is titled, Automated Vehicles: Do we know what road to take? 

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