Technology trade association techUK is today publishing a new position paper on the opportunities available to the UK to improve autonomous vehicles (AV) regulation and deliver societal and economic benefits. “Autonomous vehicle technology is one of the most important trends to come out of transport in years, with the potential to change the sector for good. Establishing a progressive legal framework for the AV market in the UK is the first step towards a safe and equitable transport future. Built on the ideals of fair and open competition, the UK AV market could mature into a world-leading example that adjacent regions will aim to emulate,” said Matthew Evans, Director of Markets at techUK. ‘UK Competitiveness in Autonomous Vehicles Technology’, commissioned by techUK’s Intelligent Mobility and Transport Group, calls for the UK Government to create a new regulatory framework allowing greater AV testing and innovation. The UK has currently opted for a slower and more cautious policy development process in AV when compared with some EU member states and the US, with Germany and France currently leading in autonomous vehicles regulation. Benefits of great autonomous vehicles adoption are expected to lead to:
  • Improved road safety – 85% of collisions[1] on UK roads are caused by human factors
  • Reduced emissions in the road to net zero
  • Improved mobility
  • Facilitated transportation of goods
The path the UK has set out will provide an opportunity for the government to learn lessons from other regulators as it seeks to determine and implement its own legislative and regulatory framework. However, if the UK wishes to keep pace with the EU and US, an urgency is nonetheless required to remain at the technical vanguard. This should involve setting a timeline for implementation, as has been done in other countries, with early engagement of stakeholders as to direction and intent. Consistent with the Government’s vision for Global Britain, the paper concludes that government should set out a clear timeline for deployment and work towards the completion of a legal and regulatory framework to meet it in consultation with the AV community. The framework should put security, flexibility, and an ambition to build public confidence in this technology at its core.