The fatal accident involving a pedestrian and an autonomous Uber vehicle in Arizona, USA is a tragic event which has been registered around the world. Whilst the authorities begin their investigation to establish the circumstances and causes of the incident in the USA it is natural to ask about the regulation of driverless vehicles on our roads in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
The development of autonomous driving technology in the UK has been underway on closed controlled circuits, in virtual environments, and on public roads for several years. Testing on public roads is governed by the UK’s legal and regulatory framework, and in 2015 the Department for Transport issued a Code of Practice setting out the safety and general requirements and responsibilities of testing organisations. ‘The Pathway to Driverless Cars: A Code of Practice for testing’ published in July 2015 can be found here.
It is the shared ambition of all involved in the development of future mobility solutions to reduce the number of incidents which, sadly, in the UK have led to the loss of five lives today, 496 injuries each day during 2016 and in that year a total of 1,792 deaths and 181,384 casualties. Connected transport and artificial intelligence have the potential to deliver dramatic reductions in these statistics.
19 March 2018