The Australian Government has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the US State of Michigan to improve road safety through collaboration on high-tech vehicle and road systems.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Development, Michael McCormack, said the MOU was part of the Government’s agenda to position Australia for safer roads through automated and connected vehicles.

“Over 90 per cent of crashes are estimated to result at least in part from human choices, so the potential benefits from sharing of expertise and experience between our two jurisdictions are enormous,” Mr McCormack said.

“This is just one way the Government is promoting safer vehicles on safer roads, including for our regions where road crashes remain unacceptably high.”

Governor of Michigan, Rick Snyder, said the MOU built on Michigan’s efforts to accelerate the worldwide implementation of connected and automated vehicle technologies.

“This agreement establishes a great partnership through which we will share research and knowledge between Michigan and Australia in the development and deployment of intelligent vehicle transportation to ensure technology and safety go hand-in-hand with progress,” Governor Snyder said.

“Ensuring the safety of connected and autonomous vehicles is paramount, and that will require a truly global approach to testing and validating the technology, as well as addressing the regulatory and policy environment those efforts operate in.

“Michigan is proud to work alongside the world’s transportation leaders to address these challenges and opportunities to help bring connected and autonomous vehicles to roadways around the globe.”

Assistant Minister to the Deputy Prime Minister, Andrew Broad, said Australian research institutions and industries can establish better links with international counterparts under this MOU, offering future commercial opportunities that could result in economic benefits for Australia.

“Michigan is an important partner as a long-standing global centre of automotive industry innovation,” Mr Broad said.

“Accelerating the development of crash-avoiding technologies through collaboration is a particular potential benefit of this MOU.”

Specific areas for possible cooperation identified within the MOU include:

Sharing scientific, technological, regulatory and policy data; co-hosting meetings, workshops and conferences between Michigan and Australia as well as other countries
Sharing best practices in skilled trades and workforce development programs
Developing new programs to address emerging technology needs
The creation of a joint task force to provide advice on strengthening Michigan and Australian technology clusters and connecting key coordinating bodies

The University of Melbourne has played a central role in advancing the transport technology agreement between the governments of Australia and Michigan, primarily through AIMES (Australian Integrated Multimodal EcoSystem).

The MOU supports links between for example AIMES, home to a live test bed on Melbourne city streets, and Michigan’s Mcity and American Center for Mobility offroad facilities.

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