Legislation backs driverless development

The government’s planned new laws have been set out by the Queen and include support for driverless vehicles.

The Modern Transport Bill will help pave the way for driverless technology insurance in preparation for Volvo’s launch of its Drive Me London trials next year. The Bill also includes measures to encourage investment in electric cars, commercial space planes and drones (Great Britain only).

The Queen stated, ‘My ministers will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles.’


Industry responses:

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said, ‘SMMT welcomes government’s commitment to accelerate the development of connected and autonomous vehicles in the UK. This is a huge opportunity for Britain, with the potential to deliver significant road safety improvements, create hundreds of thousands of new jobs and generate £51 billion for the economy by 2030. Today’s announcement will help the UK position itself as a global leader in innovation and building the cars of the future.’


Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said, ‘Any new legislation, such as we’ve seen announced, that supports the adoption and integration of autonomous vehicle technologies, is a positive for the UK.

‘Autonomously-equipped vehicles will improve the safety and well-being of drivers, with fewer collisions and reduced traffic congestion. The UK economy can also benefit, by playing a pivotal role in a global industry estimated to be worth £900 billion by 2025.’

He continued, ‘We’re excited to be debuting the first phase of our autonomous driving technology, ProPilot, on the Nissan Qashqai in 2017. The introduction of ProPilot technology will be an evolution not a revolution as the building blocks for this are already in place in many of our cars today through our Safety Shield Technology.’


‘Autonomous vehicle technology is already here and the fleet industry is poised to welcome the right legislation and insurance or legal requirements needed to bring driverless vehicles onto our roads. This endorsement from our head of state, and welcome nod to future of transport, signals Britain is at the forefront of this exciting technology which could help make our roads safer and more efficient,’ said Lesley Slater, operations and business development director, LeasePlan UK.


Sue Robinson, director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), commented, ‘The NFDA is pleased to see that the government is aware of the changes taking place in the transport sector and that it will continue to support the introduction of autonomous and electric vehicles. We are looking forward to seeing how the government’s commitments will enhance the industry’s growth further and enable the automotive sector to continue thriving.’