Self-driving cars could become legal in England as early as 2023

The UK could pass a law to support self-driving cars. It will be debated within the government and could come into effect next year.

The first cars that can drive themselves on motorways will be available in Britain from next year, the government has announced. A full rollout of autonomous vehicles is planned for 2025.

New legislation is currently being debated which could allow some vehicles, including cars, coaches and lorries, to be purchased in the UK and legally used fully autonomously on motorways. This will only be possible on express roads, not national roads. These cars would be more advanced than a Tesla in Autopilot mode. That system still requires driver intervention, but also keeping hands on the wheel.

Official documents say that these autonomous vehicles, used for public transport or deliveries, will be able to be used on any road in the UK from 2025. They will not need the presence of a person holding a driving licence. These new laws to be debated in parliament would strengthen the fact that manufacturers will be held liable if an autonomous vehicle is involved in an accident. This means that a human occupant would not be liable for incidents if the car were in control.

Autonomous cars – still an uncertainty

A report by the Center for Data Ethics and Innovation warns that there is “no easy answer” to how safe autonomous vehicles should be.

“What we wanted to say is that there is no easy answer to this question,” Professor Jack Stilgoe of University College London, who advised the CDEI, told the BBC. He added that determining the safety of driverless cars should be a democratic decision.

Another concern noted in the report is that the public will not accept any accidents caused by AI-operated cars. Even if they are assumed to be safer on average, there are doubts.

The government has announced that it will place a major focus on safety. The aim is to introduce new standards that autonomous vehicles must meet. These will need to be achieved to allow them to drive autonomously on public roads. There will be penalties if these standards are not met.

Source: Coach

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