‘No-deal Brexit’ to affect investment in UK connected car market: study
A “no-deal” Brexit would put at risk future investments in the connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) in the UK, according to a new report published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders and analyst firm Frost & Sullivan.
The report stated that the U.K. is in the “pole position” in the global race to market for connected and autonomous vehicles, with a £62 billion ($81 billion) boost to the UK economy by 2030.
The report also highlighted that £500 million has been already committed by industry and government to CAV research, development and testing across the UK. Autonomous driving trials are taking place in major U.K. towns and cities, while the country is also home to four major CAV test beds and three additional sites focused on highways, rural and parking, with more than 80 collaborative R&D projects underway. Some 420,000 new jobs are expected to be created in the automotive industry and other sectors such as telecoms and digital services.
However, the U.K.’s departure from the European Union must be orderly with a deal that supports both the industry and technological collaboration, especially in data. A “no-deal” Brexit will result in lasting damage to the U.K.’s reputation as a politically stable destination for inward investment, putting the benefits identified in the report at risk.
“Brexit has undermined our global reputation for political stability and it continues to devour valuable time and investment. We need the deadlock broken with ‘no deal’ categorically ruled out and a future relationship agreed that reflects the integrated nature of our industry and delivers frictionless trade,” said Mike Hawes, SMMT CEO.
The report ranks the UK above other major automotive countries, including Germany, the U.S., Japan and South Korea, as a global destination for the mass rollout of CAVs. The report also noted that advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as autonomous emergency braking and collision warnings are already available on the majority of new cars registered in the U.K.
“The U.K. already has the essential building blocks – forward thinking legislation, advanced technology infrastructure, a highly skilled labour force, and a tech savvy customer base – to spearhead CAV deployment over the next decade,” said Sarwant Singh, senior partner and head of mobility at Frost & Sullivan.
To realize this potential, however, the conditions must be right, and sustained support from government will be vital, the report said. The report’s key recommendations for government include updating road traffic laws, improving 4G coverage across all road networks, encouraging local authorities to work with industry to implement urban mobility services and influencing future harmonization of international regulations to ensure these new vehicles can operate seamlessly between the UK and abroad.
“It will require sustained and coordinated efforts by all key stakeholders, especially the government, to realise the significant annual economic benefits forecast for the UK from CAV deployment by 2030 and drive the vision of safe, convenient and accessible mobility for all,” said Singh.