Welcoming the Government’s commitment to include self-driving legislation in the Transport Bill, The All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) has set out seven “expert recommended red lines”.
The seven points seem very sensible on the whole, covering many of the issues we regularly raise here at Cars of the Future, including the risk of confusing assisted and automated driving.
Self-driving red lines
In full, the CAM APPG’s seven red lines are:
- Legislation must act as an enabler for the rollout of CAM technology, not a blocker. To achieve this, it will require a non-prescriptive and flexible regulatory framework that allows use cases to advance and innovate.
- A statutory definition of self-driving must be established to distinguish this technology from assisted driving.
- Clear lines of liability, accountability and responsibility for road safety must be established, in line with the Law Commission’s recommendations.
- Establish minimum standards for data sharing and handling to ensure transparency and effective governance are embedded throughout the process.
- Ensure the principle of interoperability is at the heart of the framework to realise the huge potential for the UK to export such a best-in-class regulatory model internationally.
- Introduce regulatory sandboxes to allow businesses to test innovative use cases in the market with real consumers.
- Develop a communications toolkit to accompany future legislation so that messaging can be easily disseminated to consumers to help assuage concerns around public acceptability.
Here’s our capsule review: The opening point, “Legislation must act as an enabler for the rollout of CAM technology, not a blocker” directly addresses the delicate balancing act the Government faces – facilitating these incredible cutting-edge technologies while prioritising safety and bringing the public on-board.
Point two, we bang on endlessly about this potential pitfall – it will be vital to differentiate between assisted and automated driving.
Point three, also essential of course, and huge strides are already been made by the insurance industry in this regard.
Point four, delivering “transparency and effective governance” on data sharing might prove to be the hardest of the lot.
Point five, the UK is ahead of the game on interoperability – can we translate this into a commercial advantage?
Point six, are “regulatory sandboxes” a mechanism through which the Government can achieve the balancing act referred to in point one?
Point seven – the communications toolkit – apparently there’s a UK-based website not a million miles away with free weekly newsletters which is already on the case!
The APPG on CAM was set up with support from insurer AXA UK, law firm Burges Salmon and transport consultancy WSP. It is chaired by Ben Everitt, Conservative MP for Milton Keynes North, which makes sense given the area is one of the UK’s self-driving hotspots.
Ben Everitt MP said: “The CAM APPG was delighted to discuss how the upcoming Transport Bill can deliver the benefits of autonomous technology to local communities up and down the country.
“As we await the Government’s response to the Law Commission of England and Wales review into self- driving vehicles, and the call for evidence on the future of connected and automated mobility in the UK, the APPG will continue to advise on how we can build on the great progress made to date and ensure that the whole country is able to benefit from these innovative technologies.”
Dougie Barnett, Director of Customer Risk Management at AXA UK, said: “Self-driving technology could pave the way for safer roads, increased mobility and productivity and cleaner transport. However, alongside the legislation the Government must work with the industry to ensure there is no public confusion surrounding autonomous vehicles and place more emphasis on educating the public on how to use and interact with these vehicles safely.”
Giles Perkins, Head of Profession for Future Mobility at WSP, said: “The forthcoming Transport Bill promises to unlock the potential that autonomous mobility provides. We need to ensure the Bill acts as a catalyst to enable use cases and applications that really deliver benefits for people, communities and businesses. This must happen not only in our cities but the areas surrounding them and, importantly, rural geographies which often get overlooked.”
Lucy Pelger, Partner at Burges Salmon, said: “It’s vital that legislation is an enabler to self-driving technology. The right legislative framework will not only advance the UK’s position in the global CAM market but will importantly support in building the public’s trust and confidence in CAM technology. We look forward to the Government’s response to the Law Commissions’ recommendations.”
Likewise, we at Cars of the Future look forward to following the work of the CAM APPG in achieving these laudable aims.