Self-driving vehicles could be introduced on our roads as soon as 2025, according to the latest updates from parliament. Some cars, coaches and lorries with self-driving features may even be on UK motorways in the next year.
As part of the roll-out, the Government has pledged to spend an additional £100 million to facilitate autonomous vehicles, including £34 million towards new research and a further £20 million spent on commercial services.
Alongside this, ministers have committed to bringing forward new laws to support the introduction of self-driving cars by 2025. This new legislation would implicate manufacturers as responsible for a vehicle’s actions, meaning human drivers would not be liable for any incidents related to driving.
Users won’t need to hold a driving licence as the vehicle will undertake the entire journey without needing human input. The technology works by using a combination of lasers, cameras and radar to recognise objects, like other cars and pedestrians, to plot a course and navigate the car.
There are a few different levels of autonomous control. Some vehicles have driverless features which can be turned on or off by the driver, but other cars won’t need any human interaction at all.
Vehicles capable of driving themselves on motorways could be available to purchase within the next year, though users will need a valid driving licence to drive one.
The Government will also seek to determine regulatory guidelines for the governance of self-driving vehicles. The safety ambition for self-driving cars is to be as competent and careful as a safe human driver.
This ambition would inform minimum benchmarks that vehicles need to meet before being allowed on our roads. Likewise, organisations such as manufacturers could face sanctions if these standards are not met.
Transport secretary Grant Shapps said: “We want the UK to be at the forefront of developing and using this fantastic technology, and that is why we are investing millions in vital research into the safety and setting the legislation to ensure we gain the full benefits that this technology promises.”