Making all vehicles autonomous could prevent up to 95% of all traffic accidents, a new report claims.
The report by the the Institution of Mechanical Engineers (IMechE) argues that the widespread adoption of driverless cars ‘could bring billions of pounds to the UK economy and save hundreds of lives’.
Human involvement in driving 'should be phased out'
ImechE is calling on the Government and industry to urgently address the barriers to adoption, including regulatory and insurance issues. The report makes three key recommendations.
Firstly, it says the Transport Systems Catapult – the UK’s innovation centre for intelligent mobility – should conduct a public consultation and bring together a working group to ‘look at how we can integrate and implement new regulatory regimes’.
Secondly, it says 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.
Thirdly, it says the Department for Transport should 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.
Philippa Oldham, ImechE’s head of transport and lead author of the report, called for more action from the Government to help integrate driverless vehicles into the current UK transport network. She said: ‘We need to urgently resolve legislative, technological and insurance issues to help encourage the rollout of autonomous or driverless vehicles.’
She added: ‘The benefits to this sort of technology are huge, with estimates that the overall UK economic benefit could be as much as £51 billion 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.’