The Government of South Australia is offering grants of AU$10m (£6m) to firms to assist in testing, research and development of connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.
Although the work must be carried out in the state, overseas companies are able to participate by partnering with local South Australian small to medium enterprises, universities and other organisations.
The initiative follows the high level of engagement by South Australia’s Transport and Infrastructure Minister, Stephen Mullighan at the ITS World Congress in Melbourne last month, where he spent two days there, attending the High Level Policy Roundtable, Official Opening and welcome reception on the Monday and demonstrations on the Tuesday.
Companies, industry bodies, research institutions and other organisations are able to submit creative proposals which will accelerate the development and implementation of connected and autonomous vehicle technology.
The proposals will focus on three themes, autonomous vehicle testing and demonstrations, connected vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-infrastructure pilots and demonstrations and research and development in projects that enable and accelerate the development and deployment of autonomous and connected vehicles.
The initiative builds on South Australia’s achievements of staging the first on-road trials in the Southern Hemisphere (with Volvo, pictured), introducing Australian-first legislation to allow for on-road trials of autonomous vehicles and hosting the first international driverless car conference in Australia.
All projects must take place in South Australia.
Stephen Mullighan explained, “connected and autonomous vehicles have enormous potential to save lives, reduce congestion and help people get around our community with more freedom. This technology can add to the improvements we are making to our roads with the South Road upgrades, increased road maintenance spending and Operation Moving Traffic measures to improve traffic flow.
“South Australia is leading the nation in embracing this new era in automotive technology and this investment is aimed to grow jobs in this new part of the car industry. We want proposals which will open up new opportunities for South Australian businesses and workers. This is the next step in giving South Australia vital access to this burgeoning industry expected to be worth $90 billion globally in less than 15 years.”
Mr Mullighan finished by reminding applicants that South Australia is home to world-leading companies such as Cohda Wireless, SAGE Automation and Sydac and that he wants to provide opportunities to further grow and keep building on these impressive success stories.