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SA to fuel new driverless car technology

AAP logoAAP 9/10/2016

South Australia is keeping its foot on the accelerator of the driverless car industry with the state government set to invest $10 million on the technology.

Businesses and other groups can soon apply for grants to fund projects in the state that develop or test technology for autonomous cars.

International companies could benefit from the $10 million fund, to be spent over three years, if they partner with companies and research centres in SA.

Transport Minister Stephen Mulligan says SA is already home to world-leading self-driving car technology companies but it must continue to take advantage of the growing industry.

He says driverless cars can deliver "huge benefits" to SA's roads and economy with the industry expected to be worth $90 billion globally by 2030.

"They have the capacity to reduce congestion, save lives and help people get around our community with more freedom," he said.

"Getting our state involved early will open up new opportunities for South Australian businesses and our economy."

The investment follows SA in March becoming the first Australian state to put laws in place to allow trials of driverless cars.

The state was also the first in the southern hemisphere to stage an on-road trial of a driverless car in 2015.

Self-driving cars are touted as being able to reduce road accidents by 90 per cent by removing human error, while also reducing congestion with cars travelling closer together.

Applications for the research and testing grants will open in mid-November.

SA's automotive sector has taken a battering in recent years with the winding down of Holden's Elizabeth plant, which will close for good in late 2017.

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