DfT set to allow fully driverless cars on UK roads

 

The Government is to develop a process to support ‘advanced trials’ of autonomous vehicles, bringing the possibility of driverless cars without a safety operative being tested on UK roads a small step closer.

The Department of Transport (DfT) has published updated guidance on automated vehicle trialling, which re-iterates that the law currently requires ‘a driver or operator, in or out of the vehicle, who is ready, able, and willing to resume control of the vehicle’.

”Local

However, it adds: ‘The Government is aware of the growing desire to conduct more advanced trials on public roads. Such trials may currently be outside of the law and may require support and facilitation from the Department for Transport to proceed. As a result, the Department’s motoring agencies will develop and operate a process to support advanced trials on public roads.’

Automotive minister Richard Harrington said: ‘We need to ensure we take the public with us as we move towards having self-driving cars on our roads by 2021. The update to the code of practice will provide clearer guidance to those looking to carry out trials on public roads.’

The DfT said that advanced trials will not be supported unless they have passed rigorous safety assessments, adding that the move represents ‘a major boost’ to the sector and demonstrates that the Government is on track to meet its commitment to have fully self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021.

The document states that the process of approving advanced trials will be available to support industry ‘when they are ready to do such trials’ and that those planning to conduct advanced trials should contact the Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles in advance.

The Times said the process is being finalised, with applications expected to open soon to enable trials this year. However, a DfT spokesperson told Transport Network that it was just starting to develop the process.

Transport expert Christian Wolmar, a long-standing sceptic on the subject, told Transport Network that the announcement was ‘hype’ from ministers and that, despite their claims that the UK is a leader in the field, it is way behind companies elsewhere, such as Google’s sister company, Waymo.

He said: ‘It’s laughable to think that any of these [British] companies are anywhere near being able to put a car out there without a driver.’

 

Also see

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Definitive Map Manager

Cambridgeshire County Council
£32,825 - £35,401
This role is based within the Highways Service at Cambridgeshire County Council and provides an unusual and... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Assistant Engineer

Cambridgeshire County Council
£21,074 - £30,756
A great opportunity for someone looking to start or develop a career in Highways Engineering including the... Cambridgeshire
Recuriter: Cambridgeshire County Council

Head of Strategic Transport

Cheshire East Council
£64,000 - £75,000 + benefits
We’re committed to “working for a brighter future together” – and we expect you to be too! Cheshire
Recuriter: Cheshire East Council

Regeneration Manager

Mole Valley District Council
£52,895 - £57,143 FTE
This is a great career opportunity to specialise in town centre regeneration and repositioning. Dorking, Surrey
Recuriter: Mole Valley District Council

Technical Services Officer (Mechanical)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£36,876 - £38,813
This is an exciting and challenging time for Kirklees and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Road and Footway Asset Engineer

Kent County Council
£28,925 per annum
An exciting opportunity has arisen to join the Road and Footway Asset Team as an Asset Engineer. Kent
Recuriter: Kent County Council

Head of Waste

Lincolnshire County Council
£65,651 - £70,725
As Head of Waste, you will be commercially focussed and forward-thinking. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Assistant Director

Reading Borough Council
Up to £92k
It’s the ideal time to take the lead on our modernisation agenda, and deliver growth in the trading of our front line services. Reading, Berkshire
Recuriter: Reading Borough Council

Assistant Director – Highways

Lincolnshire County Council
£82,264 - £107,878
Come and lead the future agenda for our highways services. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

County Highways Manager

Lincolnshire County Council
£55,503 - £60,578
Seeking a highly motivated leader and an excellent communicator, who has a proven ability to build relationships and trust, leading by example. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council

Local Highways Manager (East) - Lincolnshire County Council

Lincolnshire County Council
G12 £43,662 - £50,430
Seeking someone who combines excellent technical knowledge with a dedication to the customer. Lincolnshire
Recuriter: Lincolnshire County Council