Austroads updates future vehicles forecast

Photo by FLY:D on Unsplash.

Austroads has published an update to the Future Vehicles 2030 forecasts released last year, indicating a more rapid adoption of safety technology but a slowing in introduction of highly automated driving.

The forecasts predict 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.

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

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.

Other forecasts were adjusted.

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.

The medium forecast for Highly Automated Driving was for only a minority (~12 per cent) of vehicles sold in 2030 to be capable of any form of Highly Automated Driving, with many of these capable only of Highly Automated Driving in motorway and motorway-like settings. The first availability of this vehicle capability was forecast to be in 2021 for motorway-like settings, with urban capability forecast to follow in 2024.

In the new Austroads forecast, 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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