Tuesday, 23 July 2019

Questions (2320)

Bernard Durkan


2320. Deputy Bernard J. Durkan asked the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport the status of the development of the connected autonomous mobility sector here; his plans as part of Future Jobs Ireland to amend current road traffic legislation to provide for the testing of autonomous vehicles in order that Ireland can be a global leader in this sector; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [32425/19]

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Written answers (Question to Transport)

The field of transport is in the midst of what is widely acknowledged as a number of very significant changes, including those arising from increased applications of connectivity, automation, alternative fuels, the shared economy and digitisation. These in turn present opportunities but also risks. Governments and authorities worldwide are still developing their responses, taking account of the impacts of these changes on safety, the economy, employment, the environment, security and privacy (including data security). For example, EU Member States have regular High Level Meetings on Connected and Autonomous Mobility (CAM), including representatives of the Commission and a number of industrial sectors, which my officials attend. In turn, the Commission has recently set up a Single Platform for open road testing and pre-deployment of Cooperative, Connected, Automated and Autonomous Mobility (CCAM), with specialised subgroups of national experts on specific aspects.

We intend to lead the development of the Connected and Autonomous Mobility sector in Ireland with due regard to the range of important issues involved, the risks and opportunities. In the near term, and in the context of the Government's new economic pathway, Future Jobs Ireland, we are working on guidelines for testing such vehicles, a strategic roadmap for the sector and an administrative review of the current road traffic legislation in relation to possible testing on the public road.

Good progress has been made particularly with regard to the Guidelines for testing. The outcome of the review of road traffic legislation is currently being examined to determine whether and what formal legal advice may be required. The conclusion of any such legal advice, together with the results of the administrative review and any developments at EU or other international levels, will then inform the decision as to whether amendments to the Road Traffic Acts are needed.

The question of what legislative change may be needed in areas which fall outside the remit of my Department are matters for the responsible Minister.