How will driverless cars be introduced onto Britain’s roads? It’s still not clear, and the government needs to do more to ensure that people and businesses obtain the full benefit of this automotive revolution.
That’s according to the Commons transport select committee, which last week published a report on the future of motoring.
MPs highlighted the fact that manual, semi-autonomous and autonomous vehicles may well be running together on UK roads in the near future. In light of this, the Department for Transport needs to provide certainty for the public and for the automotive industry by explaining how the new generation of vehicles will be certified and tested, how drivers will be trained and how driving standards will be regulated, monitored and enforced. It must also consider the issue of liability, the committee said.
The MPs welcomed the recently announced trials of driverless cars in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry, but said it’s important to consider the world beyond the domestic market. They urged the government to take a leading role in setting European and international standards, to allow UK manufacturers to develop products that are suitable for export.
This is a once-in-a-lifetime commercial opportunity, and UK industry needs the government’s help to seize it, the report said.
Louise Ellman, chair of the committee, suggested that the government should appoint a minister to oversee the introduction of new automotive technologies, including electric vehicles as well as driverless cars.
The government should be more active and have a much more holistic strategy to make sure this new technology has the maximum effect, Ellman said. We need someone in charge of this, looking across manufacturing, technology, regulation and testing.