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The UK trial Driverless Cars!

Industry News : 16 February 2015

Last week the first trials of Driverless cars began across the country.  Milton Keynes, Bristol, Coventry and Greenwich were at the centre of the launch. So is this the beginning of a safer, less congested, driverless future?  Transport Minister Claire Perry said ‘These are still early days but it’s an important step. These trials present a fantastic opportunity for this country to take a lead internationally in the development of this new technology’


The market is predicted to be worth £900bn in the next decade and the Government are hopeful that UK designers take the lead and become a global supplier.


So what will be the Safety and Legal repercussions of this new way of driving?


Dr Nick Reed from the Transport Research Lab, which is running the Greenwich trials, said the vehicles use sensors to avoid hazards and pedestrians, and during the trials a qualified driver will be ready to take control if necessary.


David Williams, head of underwriting at AXA, addressed insurance concerns, ‘Currently whoever is driving the car is responsible for the accident, but going forward is it going to be the manufacturer or the person who programmed the software?  ‘This is further complicated by the fact a driver can interact and take over the vehicle at any time.  


The Department of Transport have confirmed that they will publish a code of practice in the spring and a further review of the legislation by the summer of 2017 which will look further into these concerns and what alterations need to be made to The Highway Code.
So while ‘true driverless’ cars are some way off the trials represent the start of a new era in motoring, which could save the average driver 6 working weeks a year and give them the chance to relax and catch up on some work on the morning commute.