Increasing Australia’s stake in the global intelligent-mobility sector from 0.25% to 1% could make the country a key exporter in a sector that could be worth A$15 billion ($11.5 billion) a year and create 7,500 direct and 8,500 indirect jobs.

A report by MacroPlanDimasi economist and Executive Chairman Brian Haratsis for the Australian Driverless Vehicle Initiative says to do this, an industry and government partnership is needed to avoid the risk of rapid uncontrolled autonomous-vehicle adoption from 2020.

The Federal Chamber of Automotive Industries says it supports the need for a clear, government-mandated roadmap for the rollout of automated-vehicle technology.

CEO Tony Weber says the Haratsis report is valuable in revealing the full extent of the economic opportunity presented by this new technology.

“Mr. Haratsis’s report adds impetus to that which we, as an industry, have been advocating consistently for the past few years,” Weber says in a statement. “With strong government support and direction, automated transport has the potential to dramatically improve our way of life.

“The report clearly outlines the benefits this technology, given the appropriate amount of nurturing and support, can deliver for Australia.”

The initiative is proposing a 5-year funding and incentive package focused on research, development, demonstration and deployment similar to the U.K.’s £100 million ($129.7 million) Intelligent Mobility Fund.

The Haratsis report says researchers predict shared autonomous vehicles will account for 10% of vehicle sales by 2030 and 30% of all miles traveled. Each shared vehicle would replace about 11 conventional vehicles.

Haratsis says a prime example of the sector’s growth potential is the initiative’s more than 75 partner organizations collaborating on driverless technology, many of which already are leading the world in research and deployment.

“We have the high-tech research, design, testing and manufacturing capabilities to make us a leading exporter of mobility services and technology across the Asia-Pacific region,” he says. “By taking first-mover advantage in this emerging global industry, we can not only mitigate the forecast 40,000 jobs to be lost in (Australian) car manufacturing, but also create a new specialized high-tech export market.”

Haratsis says if the average A$2 billion ($1.5 billion) in assistance to automakers between 1997 and 2012 were invested in intelligent mobility, direct employment could be doubled from 7,500 to 15,000.

“Add that to the estimated baseline A$80 billion ($61 billion) in economic savings from improved road safety and congestion thanks to autonomous-vehicle technology, and the incentives for swift and decisive action are clear,” the report says.

“Transitioning from a society of car ownership to car sharing will have significant benefits for road congestion and the environment,” Haratsis says. “It’s also the much-needed catalyst for changes to outdated funding mechanisms, including fuel excises, registration and licensing fees.

“The research shows our cities will see a 15%-20% increase in land-use efficiency through car-park and road-infrastructure reductions, so it’s important that town planners, designers and engineers understand the implications automation will bring so they can start preparing now.”

Weber says an important initial step saw the Australian Communications and Media Authority recently announce its intention to allocate a dedicated band for Coordinated Intelligent Transport Systems by early next year.

He says this is the digital foundation block – the common language – for an integrated, automated and connected driving network across Australia.

“The roadway is now open and clear for this technology to be progressed and start to deliver enormous benefits for the Australian community not just through the obvious easing of traffic congestion, but making our roads safer, reducing fatigue and stress, and potentially changing how people live and work,” Weber says.

“A national approach is vital, and by doing so will optimize all the opportunities that C-ITS presents to us.”