Drivers urged to have their say

Drivers have been invited to take part in a government consultation aimed at preparing UK roads for automated cars.

Traffic laws and the Highway code will both be altered to suit driverless cars, with the initial rule changes focused on enabling automated cars to be insured and cars fitted with advanced driver assistance systems to change lanes and park safely.

The nine-week consultation got underway yesterday and is the start of a rolling programme of reform on the roadmap to fully automated vehicles.

Patrick McLoughlin, transport secretary, 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.’

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.

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers (ABI), said, ‘The ABI’s Automated Driving Insurer Group has been engaged in constructive and productive discussions with the Department for Transport for many months now so it is good to see the importance of insurance to the vehicles of the future recognised within this consultation.’

Meanwhile, the Government will next month launch a competition for a further £30m from the Intelligent Mobility Fund, for research and development of innovative connected and autonomous vehicle technologies.

Sajid Javid, business secretary, 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 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.

‘Cars with advanced driver assistance features, like remote control parking and motorway assist, are expected to be on sale in Britain in the next two to four years with automated and driverless vehicles expected on the roads any time from the mid-2020s onwards.’