Homeautonomous vehiclesDriverless cars on UK roads in five years, reckons two thirds of business leaders

Driverless cars on UK roads in five years, reckons two thirds of business leaders

Driverless cars will be on UK roads within five years. So says two thirds (65 per cent) of senior industry leaders in the UK, working at the crossover of technology and transport.

Future transport collective, the Smart Mobility Living Lab: London (SMLL), polled 250 senior business decision makers from the technology, transport and automotive industries in the UK.

It also found two thirds (67 per cent) agree that connected autonomous vehicles will make UK roads safer. Further, half said commuting will be quicker (51 per cent) and make travel easier for elderly and disabled people (49 per cent).

Almost a third (30 per cent) predict a reduction in car ownership as a result. Three in five (62 per cent) said autonomous vehicles, mostly electric, will spur the UK economy, and help it hit targets on carbon emissions.

At the same time, it was a poll of evangelists. Almost half (49 per cent) of respondents said they had expected driverless cars to be available already in the UK. Issues of testing, standards, and technology remain to be overcome.

These are in SMLL’s wheelhouse. SMLL – a co-innovation project led by TRL and a consortium including Cisco, Transport for London, DG Cities, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, Cubic, and Loughborough University – is looking to organise the technology, automotive and government sectors in the UK around these challenges.

Nick Chrissos, director of innovation for Cisco in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and Russia, commented: “CAVs have the potential to profoundly impact peoples’ lives by making roads safer, less congested and less polluted.”

He added: “Collaborative innovation can make the world a better place. By bringing together experts from the technology, transport and urban planning industries, SMLL aims to develop more intelligent, safe and joined up transport systems for UK citizens.”

Two-thirds (68 per cent) of UK business leaders reckon autonomous vehicles require more rigorous real-world testing before they can go into commercial fixtures, according to the poll. Four-fifths (84 per cent) believe the UK should have its own testing facilities, in the manner of the US.

Meanwhile, 70 per cent of respondents are confident autonomous vehicles will be regulated against a standard – but only half ‘strongly agree’ such a regulatory outcome will pass.

Nearly half cited the advancement of in-vehicle, roadside, and digital infrastructure technologies as factors preventing autonomous cars being made available for use in the UK already.

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