UK looks to accelerate legislation and rollout of autonomous vehicles

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According to the UK government, self-driving vehicles could be rolled out on the country’s roads by 2025 thanks to new legislative plans and investment.

The government states that some vehicles, including cars, coaches and lorries, with self-driving features could be operating on motorways in the next year, with new legislation inbound which could allow for the safe, wider rollout of fully-autonomous vehicles by 2025.

The government’s vision for self-driving vehicles is backed by a total of £100m (US$117.8m) in investment, with £34m (US$40m) allocated to research supporting safety developments and inform more detailed legislation. The government has also confirmed £20m (US$23.5m) funding to help kick-start commercial self-driving services.

Vehicles capable of Level 2+ driving on motorways could be available to purchase within the next year, which users would need a valid driving license to operate, so they can drive on other roads. Fully autonomous vehicles could hit the roads by 2025.

UK transport secretary Grant Shapps said, “The benefits of self-driving vehicles have the potential to be huge. Not only can they improve people’s access to education and other vital services, but the industry itself can create tens of thousands of job opportunities throughout the country. Most importantly, they’re expected to make our roads safer by reducing the dangers of driver error in road collisions.

“We want the UK to be at the forefront of developing and using this fantastic technology, and that is why we are investing millions in vital research into safety and setting the legislation to ensure we gain the full benefits that this technology promises.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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