UK government calls for greater preparation for driverless cars

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The British government’s House of Commons Transport Committee today (March 6, 2015) published its Motoring of the Future report. One of its key recommendations is that the government should clarify how the introduction of self-driving cars will affect the liabilities of drivers, manufacturers and insurers. It also states that the government should devise a range of fiscal and other incentives to accelerate the uptake of new automotive technologies that could bring major benefits in improving road safety and lowering emissions. Furthermore it says the government should ask the Information Commissioner to review and then publish updated guidance on the collection, access and use of vehicle data, and that it must not let UK legislation covering driving, road use and vehicle type approvals fall behind the pace of technological change and legislation in other countries.

Launching a report on Motoring of the Future, Louise Ellman MP, Chair of Transport Committee (left) said: “Motoring is being transformed by new materials, new fuels and information technology. The government must do more to ensure that people and businesses in the UK benefit from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. The public need to be sure that new types of vehicles are safe to travel on our roads. The government must do more to prepare for a transition period where manual, semi-autonomous and driverless vehicles will share UK roads. Transport ministers must explain how different types of vehicles will be certified and tested, how drivers will be trained and how driving standards will be updated, monitored and enforced.”

BVRLA’s (British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association’s) chief executive Gerry Keaney, who was instrumental in the development of the report, after giving evidence to the committee late last year, says, “We are in the early stages of a motoring revolution, with technology set to transform the way we use road transport. The UK has some of the world’s brightest automotive talent, but we urgently need some joined-up government thinking if this country is to use this potential. As the buyers of over half of all the cars, vans and trucks sold in the UK every year, the fleet market is a crucial early adopter of autonomous and connected vehicle technology. BVRLA members are already using telematics, big data and car sharing technology to transform the way people use and access vehicles. With the right government support, the potential to reduce harmful emissions, road casualties and congestion is huge.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International magazine and the Traffic Technology Today website since he joined the company in May 2014. Prior to this he worked on some of the UK's leading consumer magazine titles including Men's Health and Glamour, beginning his career in journalism in 1997 after graduating with a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).

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