UK auto lobby backs autonomous driving bill

SMMT says UK risks being left behind in autonomous driving boom

UK auto lobby backs autonomous driving bill
The SMMT has called on the industry to support the Autonomous Vehicles Bill

The UK's automotive industry body has thrown its support behind the country's Automated Vehicles Bill, which it says will "unlock a multi-billion UK self-driving revolution".

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says that self-driving technology could save 3,200 lives and prevent 53,000 serious accidents by 2040, as well as providing a £38bn economic boost to the nation.

In addition to improving road safety, autonomous driving could result in lower fares and cheaper vehicle insurance, the SMMT says.

The Autonomous Vehicles Bill proposes regulations around the commercialisation and public use of level 4 and above automation – where a human driver will never be required to intervene in the control of the vehicle.

The bill is currently awaiting its third reading in parliament before it can be passed.

"Backing the AV Bill now is fundamental if Britain is to not only develop but deploy self-driving passenger cars and services. We have the foundations, but other major markets are stealing a march, with regulation already in place allowing them to benefit from UK-developed self-driving tech that cannot be rolled out here," says SMMT president Mike Hawes.

Any further delay risks holding back the significant safety and economic rewards self-driving technology can deliver, Hawes adds.

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The first applications of high-level autonomy in the UK would likely be in commercial vehicles, such as site logistics and freight.

UK-based firms such as Wayve and Servcity are also currently developing autonomous passenger car and robotaxi-style services.

Research from data firm YouGov commissioned by the SMMT finds that 29pc of adults would use an automated bus, shuttle or taxi service if available today, with 26pc likely to try self-driving features in a personal car.

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