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Government launches public consultation on driverless cars

Autonomous carsThe Department for Transport has launched a major consultation to enable drivers to have their say on the use of advanced driver assistance systems and ‘self-driving’ technologies in cars on British roads.Included in the consultation will be proposed changes to the highway code and regulations needed to support the safe use of remote control parking and motorway assist features.

In addition the consultation looks at proposed changes to the insurance law intended to ensure that motorists who have handed control to their ‘self-driving’ cars can be insured properly, as announced recently in the Modern Transport Bill. Motor insurance will remain compulsory but will be extended to cover product liability for automated vehicles.

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

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin 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.”

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 DfT for many months now so it is good to see the importance of insurance to the vehicles of the future recognised within this consultation. The development of automated driving will revolutionise motoring, potentially as important a road safety innovation as the seatbelt. Insurers strongly support the Government’s ambition of making the UK a world leader in this technology and believe the insurance industry has a key role in helping give consumers confidence in using these vehicles when they become more widely available.

“The driver’s insurer will still pay out in the normal way so road accident victims are promptly reimbursed – but the insurer will then be able to claim the money back from the car company if the vehicle is deemed to be at fault.”

The consultation on the changes will last for nine weeks. For more details, click here.

For more of the latest industry news, click here.

Natalie Middleton

Natalie has worked as a fleet journalist for 16 years, previously as assistant editor on the former Company Car magazine before joining Fleet World in 2006. Prior to this, she worked on a range of B2B titles, including Insurance Age and Insurance Day. As Business Editor, Natalie ensures the group websites and newsletters are updated with the latest news.