Self-driving cars to debut in the UK by 2026 under new AV Act

Close-up Of A Woman Traveling By Self Driving Modern Car

As early as 2026, self-driving cars may be seen on UK roads following the approval of the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act.

The AV Act, which was announced during the King’s Speech and went into effect, would facilitate the advancement of cutting-edge technology and the introduction of self-driving cars in the United Kingdom.

According to the new law, autonomous cars must attain a degree of safety that is on par with that of cautious and skilled human drivers.

Before being permitted to drive on UK roads, vehicles will also have to pass stringent safety inspections, thanks to the Act.

According to trials, millions of British people’s lives could be improved by self-driving cars by increasing their mobility and access to services.

Future fatalities and injuries from intoxicated driving, speeding, fatigue, and inattention may also be avoided with the help of the law.

UK Transport Secretary Mark Harper commented: “Britain stands at the threshold of an automotive revolution, and this new law is a milestone moment for our self-driving industry, which has the potential to change the way we travel forever.

“While this doesn’t take away people’s ability to choose to drive themselves, our landmark legislation means self-driving vehicles can be rolled out on British roads as soon as 2026, in a real boost to both safety and our economy.”

Improving road safety with self-driving vehicles

Currently, human error is to blame for 88% of traffic accidents in the UK. It is anticipated that self-driving cars will drastically decrease these mistakes.

The vehicle approval mechanism will be supported by an impartial incident investigation function to guarantee the safety of autonomous vehicles on British roads.

This will promote a culture of learning and ongoing development similar to the requirements of the aviation sector.

Businesses will always be required to uphold the safety of their vehicles and adhere to British legal requirements.

Mike Hawes, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) Chief Executive, added: “This is a watershed moment for UK automotive innovation and road safety in the UK.

“Self-driving vehicles will revolutionise our society, and this new law will help turn ambition into reality, putting the UK alongside a handful of other global markets that already have their regulatory frameworks in place.

“The industry will continue its close collaboration with government and other stakeholders to develop the necessary secondary legislation that will enable the safe and responsible commercial rollout of self-driving vehicles and the significant social and economic benefits they will afford the UK.”

Who is liable in the case of a road accident?

The Act defines responsibility for self-driving cars and creates a thorough legal framework.

It guarantees that when the car is in self-driving mode, drivers are not held accountable for its conduct. Rather, companies like insurance companies, software producers, and automakers bear the liability.

Benefits to the UK economy

Between 2018 and 2022, the UK’s autonomous vehicle industry produced £475 million in direct investments and added over 1,500 employment.

By 2035, autonomous cars are predicted to generate 38,000 skilled employment and unleash approximately £42 billion for the UK economy when the AV Act is approved.

1 thought on “Self-driving cars to debut in the UK by 2026 under new AV Act”

  1. Kevan Chippindall-Higgin

    Driving is an incredibly complex activity reiring total concentration but above all, the intelligence to make decisions in the face of the unexpected.

    We do not have driverless trains and all the driver does there is to decide whether to go forwards or backwards and to stop as required. There are no e scooters zipping about the place, road works, drunks and all the rest yet there is not talk of this. The benefits are huge. Train drivers are extremely well paid and removing them would represent a major saving. Machines do not go on strike and ASLEF has always been a militant union. It would be wonderful for technology to get rid of it.

    Driverless cars are completely crackers. Someone called in having hired a self driving car and tried the full facility, despite being told not to, and found it fine on the motorway but hopeless where there were no white lines. Often, lines are worn to invisibility, so how does the thing navigate. This whole idea is utterly mad.

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