Pathway to Driverless Cars: Proposals to support advanced driver assistance systems and automated vehicle technologies
Automated vehicle technology will profoundly change the way we travel, making road transport safer, smoother, and smarter. We are on the pathway to driverless cars, where fully automated vehicles will transport people and goods to their destination without any need for a driver. The Government wants to secure the UK’s position at the forefront of this change for the development, construction, and use of automated vehicle technologies.
Organisations are taking notably different approaches in developing this technology. Some are taking an evolutionary approach in developing new advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) – with incremental developments on existing technology such as automated braking systems. Others are taking a revolutionary approach in developing fully automated cars from the ground up, which can drive themselves for the entire journey. It is not clear when either approach will deliver a truly driverless car that people can purchase, or use.
Experts think this could be any time from the mid-2020s onwards. What is clear is that vehicles, which can be parked within line of sight by remote control, or pilot themselves with human oversight on high speed roads such as motorways, will be available for sale in the next two to four years. Whichever path development takes, the safe and efficient movement of people and goods is key to our economic prosperity.
Automated vehicles will facilitate this, delivering social, environmental, and economic benefits to the UK by:
improving road safety - with over 90% of road traffic collisions caused by human error, automated vehicles could help to reduce death and injuries on our roads;
enabling better use of road space - leading to improved traffic flow, with associated fuel savings; and
enhancing mobility - giving access to those who currently cannot drive. As a Government, we are excited by the potential for automated vehicle technologies to improve the way we travel and move goods - not just when vehicles are fully automated and totally connected to the rest of the world, but also as technologies come to market step-by-step.
These technologies could lead improved productivity, and increased trade as British industries capture part of a wider global market for Intelligent Mobility estimated by the Transport Systems Catapult to be worth £900bn by 20251 .
The UK already has one the best regulatory regimes for testing automated vehicles in the world. We are also one of the first countries in the world to commit to making changes to their domestic regulatory regime to adapt to the introduction of automated vehicle technology (AVT). This consultation seeks your views on the latest of these proposals to facilitate the use of ADAS and AVT across the UK.