We were delighted to be invited to the Self-Driving All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) workshop on “Safety and Public Perception” at the House of Commons on Monday (18 Sep 2023).
Chaired by Ben Everitt, MP for self-driving hotspot Milton Keynes North, ably assisted by Lord Borwick, former long-serving chief exec of London taxi manufacturer, Manganese Bronze, it invited expert opinions on important questions including:
- What does a robust and credible safety framework for self-driving vehicles look like?
- What are the implications of AI safety policy for the self-driving vehicle sector?
- How will the roll-out of self-driving vehicles affect pedestrians and other road users?
- What can the industry do to improve public understanding of self-driving vehicles?
- How can Government support the industry to highlight the benefits of self-driving vehicles?
For this second workshop (the first, on “Economy and Environment”, having taken place the previous week), the participants included many names familiar to Cars of the Future readers: Doug Jenkins of AXA, Jessica Uguccioni of the Law Commission and CCAV, Nick Fleming of BSI, Professor Siddartha Khastgir of the University of Warwick, Steve Gooding of the RAC Foundation, Mark Cracknell of Zenzic, and Dr Nick Reed of Reed Mobility, along with representatives from Wayve, Burges Salmon, WSP, National Highways, Waymo and Hanbury Strategy.
Emphasising that the four leading causes of road traffic accidents (RTAs) are driver error, reckless behaviour, disobeying traffic laws and driver impairment, it set out to explore public perceptions around safety, and asked how self-driving can reduce casualties as part of a wider smart transport system.
Without wishing to pre-empt the findings, which will inform an independent policy report, three interesting opinions were: 1) that people will quickly become bored with the protest action of ‘coning’, 2) that more ‘friendly-looking’ vehicle design would be helpful, and 3) that legislation to clarify liability would be very welcome – perhaps in the next King’s Speech?
Please note, the APPG’s deadline for written evidence on the economic, environmental and safety benefits of self-driving vehicles is this Friday (22nd Sep 2023).
For further info, visit the Self-Driving APPG website.