Driverless Cars may soon be seen on UK Roads
Posted on: 12/02/2015

The past week has seen several developments for the introduction of driverless cars onto UK roads. Firstly a report by the Department of Transport has confirmed that changes to road regulations and car maintenance checks will be fundamental to ensuring the transition of driverless cars onto UK roads, and secondly the UK Business Secretary Vince Cable and Transport Minister Claire Perry have joined together in announcing the UK’s competition for ‘Introducing Driverless Cars’.

Arup is one firm known to be involved in the competition, putting forward their UK Autodrive project. Lasting three years the project will set Arup back £19.2m, but it is hoped that this project will develop autonomous vehicles and ensure that driverless vehicles will integrate fully when brought into the existing urban environment.

Tim Armitage, the Project Director of UK Autodrive, commented: “This Government review of regulations paves the way for the introduction of driverless vehicles on UK roads. UK Autodrive will make use of these changes to lead the development and adoption of autonomous driving technologies. The three year programme will demonstrate these autonomous technologies in the cities of Milton Keynes and Coventry, positioning the UK as a leader in this domain.”

However both Arup and the government recognise the difficulties associated with these vehicles, Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “Alongside the hi-tech innovation you need policy decisions on long-term, low-tech matters such as who takes responsibility if things go wrong. As and when these vehicles become commonplace, there is likely to be a shift from personal to product liability and that is a whole new ball game for insurers and manufacturers.”

Whilst much trial and development of both policy and technology is needed, this is an exciting project for Arup and all involved in the introduction of driverless cars within the UK.

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