That fact seems to have raised some eyebrows at the Guardian. On the L-Test list, John De Jong, from Pearson writes, "whether intelligibility is scored by humans or by machine makes no difference, except for that the machine will do it more consistently and more reliably." And to be honest, from my personal experience with the Versant tests, I'm cautiously optimistic.
That's not the only eyebrow raising initiative that Pearson has included. They will also be taking digital photographs and fingerprints to authenticate test takers and using video and audio monitoring in the test centres.
Currently only a small number of Canadian institutions, including Algoma and Nipissing Universities, the University of Manitoba, University of BC, and my alma mater, the University of Western Ontario are accepting the scores for undergraduate admissions.
You would think that with those expensive human graders out of the way, the PTE Academic would be cheap, but I guess computers have to eat too. It costs between $150 USD and $210 USD depending on where you choose to take the test.