UK government to support advanced automated vehicle trials
U.K. authorities also announced a strengthening of its code of practice to trial automated vehicles
The U.K. government said it is developing a process to support advanced trials of automated vehicles in the country — and that such trials will not be supported unless they have passed rigorous safety assessments.
In response to feedback from industry, the government has also announced that its code of practice for testing automated vehicles will be strengthened to set even clearer expectations for safe and responsible trials.
The UK’s Department of Transportation said that the U.K government is on track to meet its commitment to have fully self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021, as part of the government’s modern industrial strategy.
“Thanks to the UK’s world class research base, this country is in the vanguard of the development of new transport technologies, including automation.The government is supporting the safe, transparent trialling of this pioneering technology, which could transform the way we travel,” said Jesse Norman, Future of Mobility minister.
Automotive Minister Richard Harrington said that the U.K. wants to “ensure through the Industrial Strategy Future of Mobility Grand Challenge that we build on this success and strength to ensure we are home to development and manufacture of the next generation of vehicles.
“We need to ensure we take the public with us as we move towards having self-driving cars on our roads by 2021. The update to the code of practice will provide clearer guidance to those looking to carry out trials on public roads,” he added.
The “code of practice”, first published in 2015, makes clear that automated vehicle trials — including testing with a remote driver — are possible on any U.K. road so long as they are compliant with U.K. law. The update to the code “acknowledges the growing desire of industry to conduct more advanced trials, and a process to handle such trials on public roads is now being developed,” the government said.
Under the new version of he code, those carrying out trials for automated vehicles will be expected to publish safety information, trial performance reports and to carry out risks assessments before conducting a trial. Trialling organizations are also expected to inform the relevant authorities, emergency services, and anyone who might be affected by trial activity.