The UK government’s driverless vehicle ‘Industrial Strategy’

In a bid to make the UK one of the leading countries in the world to test, develop and drive self-driving cars, the government has commissioned a three-year review of driving laws.

The review highlights the need for regulatory reforms by the Scottish Law Commission as part of the Future of Mobility Grand Challenge set out in the government’s ‘Industrial Strategy’.

Technological revolution

Carmakers and tech firms such as Tesla, Audi, Nissan, Google and Aurora are committed to getting autonomous tech onto the roads, consisting of computers and software to process information gathered by cameras and sensors in the cars.

It is highly important to examine current driving laws designed with traditional monitoring in mind to help support the next generation of this technological revolution.

Key aspects of the law commission review the change of traditional laws to better suit self-driving vehicles; ensuring humans can still be blamed for road accidents caused by driverless cars, as well as criminalising hackers who target autonomous vehicles.

‘Who’s the responsible driver?’

Other key points to take into consideration regarding the ‘Future of Mobility Grand Challenge’ includes:

  • Who’s the responsible person, or driver, of the vehicle?
  • The impact of other road users and how they can be protected from risks
  • The need for new criminal offenses to deal with novel types of interference and conduct
  • New business models providing mobility as a service
  • Shared control of the human-machine interface.

Mobility as a service

The Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, White Paper, says: “We are on the cusp of a profound change in how we move people, goods and services around our towns, cities and countryside.

“New market entrants and new business models, such as ride-hailing services, ride sharing and ‘mobility as a service’, are challenging our assumptions about how we travel.

“The UK’s road and rail network could dramatically reduce carbon emissions and other pollutants, congestion could be reduced through the higher-density use of road space enabled by automated vehicles, and mobility could be available when we want it, where we want it and how we want it.”

Written by Leah Alger