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Consultation on advanced driver assistance systems and ‘self-driving’ technologies in cars on British roads - plus £30 million teaser for CAV2

The Department for Transport and the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles have announced a public consultation on proposals to help pave the way for automated cars to be used on British roads, with all drivers invited to have their say.

Pathway to driverless cars: proposals to support advanced driver assistance systems and automated vehicle technologies suggests a programme of reform to make the roads better prepared for advanced driver assistance and driverless technologies, so automated vehicles can be insured for use on the roads.

In addition, the Highway code and regulations are to be altered so advanced driver assistance systems that change lanes on the motorway and park the vehicle by remote control can be used safely.

 

Preview of forthcoming £30 million CAV2 competition to be launched in August

Separately, the government announced that it will launch a competition for a further £30 million from the Intelligent Mobility Fund in August, to incentivise research and development of innovative connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

This builds on the first £20 million awarded to a number of projects in February, and further enable the UK to take advantage of the latest technological developments in driverless cars research.

The ministers said they are determined for Britain to lead the way globally in embracing the safe development of driverless technology.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said, “Driverless car technology will revolutionise the way we travel and deliver better journeys.”

”Britain is leading the way but I want everyone to have the chance to have a say on how we embrace and use these technologies.

“Our roads are already some of the safest in the world and increasing advanced driver assist and driverless technologies have the potential to help cut the number of accidents further.”

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said, “Britain’s auto industry has always been at the forefront of innovation and research. This additional £30 million of funding for research and development (R&D) is a further sign of our commitment to making sure we’re creating opportunities for UK businesses to thrive and attract global investment in world-class technology.”

 

Nine week consultation period

The consultation on the 2 changes is due to open today (11 July 2016) and will last for 9 weeks. It is the start of a rolling programme of reform on the roadmap to fully automated vehicles.

Under the proposals:

  • the ‘Highway code’ and regulations will be changed to support the safe use of remote control parking and motorway assist features
  • insurance law will be changed so that, in the future, motorists who have handed control to their ‘self-driving’ cars can be insured properly

The proposed changes to insurance will be brought forward in the Modern Transport Bill. Motor insurance will remain compulsory but will be extended to cover product liability for automated vehicles.

When a motorist has handed control to their vehicle, they can be reassured that their insurance will be there if anything goes wrong.

James Dalton, Director of General Insurance Policy at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), wa also quoted in the announcement, adding “The ABI’s Automated Driving Insurer Group has been engaged in constructive and productive discussions with the DfT for many months now so it is good to see the importance of insurance to the vehicles of the future recognised within this consultation. The development of automated driving will revolutionise motoring, potentially as important a road safety innovation as the seatbelt. Insurers strongly support the Government’s ambition of making the UK a world leader in this technology and believe the insurance industry has a key role in helping give consumers confidence in using these vehicles when they become more widely available.”

 

Product liability with prompt insurance payouts

As proposed by the bill, a driver’s insurer will still pay out in the normal way so road accident victims are promptly reimbursed – but the insurer will then be able to claim the money back from the car company if the vehicle is deemed to be at fault.

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