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UK ranked top destination for driverless cars

World-leading insurance legislation has helped position the UK as the number one location for a mass-market rollout of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

08 APRIL 2019 | CHRIS SEEKINGS
UK ahead of the US and Germany for CAVs ©Shutterstock
UK ahead of the US and Germany for CAVs ©Shutterstock


That is according to a new report from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), which said that CAVs could provide an annual £62bn boost to the economy by 2030.

Moreover, the “massive safety benefits” of self-driving technology could help prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save more than 3,900 lives over the next decade.

However, the researchers warned that success hinges on a favourable Brexit agreement, with ‘no-deal’ threatening to put investment and safety gains at risk.

“The UK’s potential is clear,” SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, said. “We are ahead of many rival nations, but to realise these benefits we must move fast.

“Brexit continues to devour valuable time and investment. We need the deadlock broken and a future relationship agreed that reflects the integrated nature of our industry.”

The report ranks the UK above other major automotive countries, including Germany, US, Japan and South Korea as a global destination for the mass rollout of CAVs.

Over £500m has been spent on CAVs by the UK government and industry, with the country home to more miles that can be driven on autonomously than any other.

However, the researchers said sustained support from the government would be vital if its ambition of having driverless vehicles on UK roads by 2021 is to be met.

This will involve updating road traffic laws, improving 4G coverage, and harmonising international regulations to ensure vehicles can move abroad seamlessly.

“The UK already has the essential building blocks – forward thinking legislation, advanced technology infrastructure, a highly skilled labour force, and a tech-savvy customer base,” Frost & Sullivan senior partner, Sarwant Singh, said.

“However, it will require sustained and coordinated efforts by all key stakeholders to realise the significant annual economic benefits forecast, and drive the vision of safe, convenient and accessible mobility for all.”


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