Road Safety News

Britain better positioned to lead on self-driving cars after Brexit - Telegraph

Friday 29th July 2016

Leaving the EU could help put Britain in pole position when it comes to developing self-driving cars, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) has told the Telegraph.

In a news report published yesterday (28 July), the SMMT says that the decision made on 23 June means that Britain will be ‘unfettered by European red tape’.

On the issue of driver privacy, the SMMT adds that the UK has a more liberal attitude than much of Europe, meaning that legal issues around testing self-driving cars are likely to be less complicated in this country.

The UK Government is expecting the development of driverless cars to play a vital role in the country's economic future, with the RAC suggesting that forecasts show that the industry could be worth nearly a trillion pounds worldwide by the middle of the 2020s.

For that reason, the Government has repeatedly expressed its desire to take a world lead in the area. In May, the Queen's Speech included a modern transport bill designed to encourage investment in driverless cars, while in February the Government announced a further £20m would be invested in developing the technology.

The UK’s first public autonomous vehicle trials are set to get underway later this year (pictured) and members of the public are being invited to sign up to take part.

The SMMT says the UK is already at an advantage over most of Europe because it never ratified the Vienna Convention, which states that “every driver shall at all times be able to control his vehicle”.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, told the Telegraph: “Britain is already perceived as an attractive test-bed for technologies; Brexit may make it more attractive.

“This (driverless cars) is an incredibly competitive area; so many cities and countries want to be the test-bed for this next generation technology which could potentially transform the industry – the UK has to set out its stall. We have a regulatory framework which makes it easier to do such things.”



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