UK should prepare for driverless cars, say MPs
The British government should commence plans to introduce driverless cars to the roads, say MPs.
A variety of factors need to be considered and prepared for if the UK government wants to bring driverless cars to Britain’s roads, according to a report from the House of Commons. The main considerations will be designed to reassure the public over safety concerns.
The report notes that the Department for Transport (DfT) has not yet implemented a coherent, joined-up strategy that will help the new automotive technology achieve its wider policy goals. Therefore, in order to shape motoring of the future, the DfT should develop a strategy with safety in mind, alongside a number of other key objectives.
Speaking to the BBC, Louise Ellman, the committee chair and Labour MP, said liability in the event of a crash needs to be worked out. "Who is liable? Is it the manufacturer of the vehicle, or the technology in it? Is it the driver?" she said.
In the Commons report, six other key objectives were outlined. These are to:
- Reduce or eliminate fatalities and serious injuries on roads;
- Reduce emissions from road transport;
- Increase road capacity through the use of technology rather than road building;
- Protect citizens against the risk of cyber-attack;
- Enhance social inclusion through more accessible road transport; and
- Support economic growth.
According to evidence heard by the committee, Britain could have a complete mix of driverless, semi-autonomous, and manual cars, all within the next ten years. However, getting the public’s vote of confidence will be vital for the new technology to take hold.
"We really need a safe vision for the future whereby all vehicles and all road users can coexist in harmony,” said Edmund King, president of the AA.
"This vision will entail government, manufacturers, insurers and indeed drivers agreeing the way ahead."
If the UK realises the potential of driverless cars it could transform motoring, but more specifically, the problems that having a population of motorists entails. However, it will require a coherent and strategic approach.
To read the Commons report click here.
Image credit: Transport Systems Catapult