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The Future Vehicles 2030 forecasts, which were released last year, have been reviewed and updated by Austroads in light of the impact of COVID-19 and other emerging evidence.

The previous forecasts indicated a more rapid adoption of safety technology but a slowing of the introduction of highly automated driving. 

They also predicted the proportion of new light vehicles sold and in the fleet with advanced safety technology, automation, connectivity, and electric power sources.

The forecasts are used by transport agencies and Austroads Future Vehicles Program to inform priorities in research, policy development and planning.

Austroads Future Vehicles Program Manager, Vibeke Matthews, said, “This is a fast-moving area and it’s important to revise these forecasts on a regular basis.” 

The review has considered new and emerging evidence including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic which has had a short-term impact on light vehicle sales and changed the use of ride share and taxi services.

The forecasts present three uptake scenarios (slow, medium and rapid) for eight technologies or uses: active safety systems; highly automated driving on motorways, urban roads and rural roads; interoperable cooperative ITS; embedded mobile data connectivity; electric vehicles; and vehicles for hire with driver.

The forecast for For Hire with Driver has been discontinued. The different nature of this forecast (vehicle use rather than embedded vehicle technology) and increased uncertainty from COVID-19 impacts made it difficult to provide a suitable updated forecast.

The review found no change to the electric vehicle or embedded mobile data connectivity forecasts and extended the forecasts to 2031.

The medium and slow adoption of active safety systems, such as Lane Keeping Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control, remains constant and were extended to 2031. The rapid uptake forecast was accelerated to reflect the observation that current uptake may be running significantly ahead of forecast levels. A recommendation was made to monitor for further signs of acceleration.

The uptake of Highly Automated Driving appears to be progressing behind the evidence used for the Future Vehicles 2030 forecasts, which were themselves much less optimistic than comparative forecasts at that time. 

Accordingly, the estimates of first availability of the technology have been delayed for two years in the rapid and medium uptake scenarios and three years in the slow scenario. The structure of the forecasts has also been amended to reflect changes in the way developers appear to be progressing plans for making technologies available to market.

Austroads has committed to reviewing the forecasts on an annual basis.

Download: Future Vehicles 2031: Forecasts Update

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