Queensland may need a new class of licence, the definition of a "driver" would need to be changed and insurance claims would be shaken up under the looming reality of driverless cars on our roads.
QUT Professor Andry Rakotonirainy said laws and regulations would need to be changed before driverless cars were allowed to roam Australian streets.
"If you look at the situation where you drive an autonomous car and you get a ticket, now who is going to be responsible for that ticket?" Professor Rakotonirainy said.
"The thing that needs to be changed is what we call 'drivers'."
However, deciding who was responsible would depend on how automated the car was, the professor said.
"If it's completely automated ... then the one responsible for paying the ticket is the one who programmed the car, so it can be a vehicle manufacturer."
Professor Rakotonirainy, the director of QUT's Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety, said benefits of driverless cars would include removing drink-drivers from roads and improving safety.
But he said more testing was needed to prove driverless cars were safe.
Take-up of driverless cars might be slowed by negative community opinion, which could be swayed by incidents such as a fatal collision between an Uber self-driving vehicle and a pedestrian in Arizona.
An Ipsos survey covering 28 countries found Australians were more sceptical about driverless cars than were people in many other countries, with the poll showing one in six would never use one.
Also, Queensland's roads would not suddenly be filled with 100 per cent autonomous vehicles, meaning there would be a transition period where fully driverless cars could share the road with partially driverless and human-controlled vehicles.
"And that means that different rules will apply to different entities," Professor Rakotonirainy said.
"My bet is lawyers will have a lot of work in front of them.
"Humans will be in charge of some cars, and one of the reasons we have crashes is because of human error, so human errors remain there, and I predict, I think that during that transition period there will be lots of confusion, so it is possible we will have more crashes."
Professor Rakotonirainy said many researchers predicted people would not buy private driverless cars, but they would use them as a service, like a taxi.
"So the ownership of the car will disappear and that has lots of impacts, meaning in terms of urban development, we wouldn't need parking, when you create your house, you wouldn't need a garage," he said.
Professor Rakotonirainy said licences might also need to change.
"If it's fully automated then I think there is no need to have a licence to be a passenger ... It's like being driven in a taxi - you don't need a licence to jump in a cab," he said.
"But if we are looking at [partial] automation where the driver has to intervene in a case of emergency, then the driver would need to be trained and know what to do in the case of a critical situation and that really needs some form of licensing."
The Motor Accident Insurance Commission is investigating changes to Queensland regulation, and specifically reviewing compulsory third party insurance and national injury insurance to identify eligibility barriers for occupants of automated vehicles.
The MAIC is working with the National Transport Commission and other Australian motor accident injury insurance schemes.
It is just one piece of research to prepare Australia for driverless vehicles, with a target of 2020 for new regulations.
The Transport and Infrastructure Council last month agreed the National Transport Commission should propose national laws on driverless cars, including determining who should be responsible for their operation.
"The key problem to be resolved through this reform is that Australian transport law assumes there is a human driver," a National Transport Commission paper says.
Queensland will also host the largest on-road testing trial of co-operative intelligent vehicles in Australia, involving 500 Ipswich residents, to begin in 2019.