Have your say on the future of driverless vehicles
The Department for Transport today announced a public consultation on the future of autonomous vehicles on Britain’s roads.
As part of “a rolling programme of reform on the roadmap to fully automated vehicles”, the proposed changes will allow automated vehicles to be insured and even the Highway Code itself will be altered to incorporate automation – if only automatic parking cars and lane-changing driver assistance systems for now.
Whether you are thrilled or appalled, this is your chance to make your voice heard. The consultation begins on July 11 2016 lasting for nine weeks – you can respond via email, post or filling a simple online survey.
The proposed alterations to the Highway Code affect the following two rules:
- Rule 150 – “Do not rely on driver assistance systems such as cruise control or lane departure warnings”
- Rule 160 – “drive with both hands on the wheel where possible”
For the former, the government intend to include new technologies such as remote control parking but still emphasise that drivers should “use these systems responsibly, and that they do not attempt to use assist technology beyond what it is designed for.”
For the second, they suggest that driving with both hands on the wheel may be relaxed in appropriate situations such as when remote parking.
In both of these, the DfT insist that drivers remain aware at all times despite any assisting technology:
“At present we are not proposing to relax any of the existing specific or implied driver distraction restrictions, such as the prohibitions on using hand-held mobile phones, watching TV or eating and drinking at the wheel.
“This will be considered when vehicles are designed such that the driver no longer needs to remain alert and in-the-loop.”
Today’s changes also include alterations to motor insurance which will be brought forward in the Modern Transport Bill. In the event of an incident, insurers will pay out in the normal way “but the insurer will then be able to claim the money back from the car company if the vehicle is deemed to be at fault”.
The Guardian reported that research suggests driverless technology will create an 80% reduction in the number of car incidents by the year 2035. This will most certainly make car insurance premiums less expensive – hopefully this will be seen by motorcyclists too.
Whatever your opinions, the consultation begins July 11 2016 for a duration of nine weeks. Voice your opinion via email, post or online – details are available here.
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