The South African government is embarking on developing regulations that will guide and regulate the implementation and roll-out of autonomous vehicle technology (AVT).
In its Annual Performance Plan for the financial year 2020/21, the Department of Transport disclosed that we could not avoid the imminent changes in our road transportation system as a country.
“These regulations, therefore, will ensure that the country remains competitive towards what the world will be offering. The country will be in a position where it can trade and operate the vehicles with autonomous technology,” the department said.
The rest of the world is confronted with the changing world towards the fourth industrial revolution. In this regard from, a transport perspective, the world is migrating towards autonomous vehicle technology.
“As a country, we are therefore faced with the inevitable; thus, we have to be prepared.,” it added.
The department of transport said it would develop the regulations for autonomous vehicles considering the people with disabilities to ensure that they are accommodated in the new technology changes. Furthermore, this consideration will also extend to the specific needs of woman and children.
The transport department expects to complete the regulations in 2022/23.
The final output will be the approval by Cabinet.
The transport department added that introducing this new technology in the transportation system will revolutionise how transport is regulated. “Thus, by developing the regulations, the state shall be in an ideal position to ensure as a country we are competitive to the fourth industrial revolution, in this case from a transport perspective. The government will be able to set parameters for the industry and other stakeholders in the value chain.”
South Africa cannot afford not to be competitive towards being ready to adopt and implement new technologies.
“Participating in globalisation, South Africa will thus trade in the open market. Therefore, SA has to be ready to legalise and operate the products that the world will be selling to the country. Furthermore, jobs need to be protected and even better created in the vehicle manufacturing industry by adopting technologies that will enable the production of AVT,” said the department.
To the effect, by developing and approving the AVT regulations, the government shall be able to ensure order when the autonomous vehicles hit our shores, it explained.
Linked to the new AVT, the impacts of climate change worldwide can no longer be denied, and immediate intervention is required to reduce the transport sector’s carbon footprint significantly, said the department.
“The road sub-sector is the highest polluter in transport, and because of this it will require the urgent intervention of which could be considered through the vigorous implementation of mechanisms to increase the uptake of electric vehicles, which will be achieved through the ‘Electric Vehicles Alignment Framework’.”