A new report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers is calling for urgent Government and industry action to encourage the greater use of autonomous and driverless vehicles. The ‘Autonomous and Driverless cars’ report makes three key recommendations: that the Transport Systems Catapult conducts a public consultation, bringing together a working group that includes industry, legislators, regulators and members of the general public; all car dealerships and garages must work with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that they can provide adequate information, and give the required training, to any new purchaser of a vehicle. Also, it claims the DfT needs to address the safety issues of mixed road use, looking at how autonomous vehicles can be integrated onto our road network with appropriate road signage and markings in place or updated.
Head of Transport at the Institution of the Mechanical Engineers and Lead Author of the report, Philippa Oldham, said, ‘The benefits to this sort of technology are huge, with estimates that the overall UK economic benefit could be as much as £51bn a year due to fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade. Currently 95% of all crashes happen due to driver error, so it makes sense for Government, industry and academia to redouble efforts to look at how we phase out human involvement in driving vehicles. There needs to be much more action from Government to help integrate driverless vehicles into the current UK transport network. This will include updates and standardisation to road signage and road markings to enable these driverless vehicles to operate in the safest way possible. Much more work needs to be done to clarify regulation and insurance issues, such as where liability lies in case of an accident.’