UK seeks ‘leadership role’ in global driverless car industry
The Queen’s Speech, at today’s State Opening of Parliament, has confirmed the UK Government’s intention that Britiain aims to become a world leader in the development of driverless cars.
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The speech outlines the Government’s programme of legislation and policies for the coming year and is written by the Government and not by Her Majesty.
“My ministers will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles.”
Her Majesty Queen Elisabeth II
At one meeting at Google’s London offices in February 2015, Sarah Hunter, head of policy at Google X, said the company was “very positive about the non-regulatory approach being taken in the UK, [which] places the UK in a good position and could be seen as an example of best practice”.
Michael Hurwitz, the Department for Transport’s head of technology, “emphasised our desire to work with Google to ensure the UK stays ahead”, according to minutes taken during a meeting later in 2015, with the DfT going so far as inviting Google to work actively with the Bank of England to understand the likely changes to the insurance industry.
Although today’s mention of driverless car, autonomous and electric vehicle technology is one of the highest profile statements of the UK Government’s intent, it is directly in line with an Action Plan published more than a year ago, which set a target of updating the necessary laws before Summer 2017.
Within the Action Plan are some exciting statements, such as: the encouragement of testing “on a national level”; utilising the whole of London as Europe’s only ‘mega city’, and taking advantage of traffic laws which are universal across the UK.
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Remember, it’s these laws which are going to change to enable all of the above, effectively removing the geographic restrictions currently placed on driverless vehicle experiments taking place in Coventry, Milton Keynes and Greenwich, among other locations around the UK.
Meanwhile with Nissan announcing that its first ADAS enhanced driverless car will be manufactured in the UK, the foundations are being laid for the country to catch up with Germany, Japan and America as the automotive industry evolves into this new era.
But how many of these activities will resolve technical challenges that autonomous vehicles must overcome before entering mainstream use on the roads?
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We will be delving deeper in to how sensors in driverless and ADAS enhanced vehicles are and will be used in the future at the AutoSens conference 2016, held in September at AutoWorld in Brussels, Belgium.
Carefully selected experts will discuss the shared challenges, innovation, standardisation and supply chain collaboration involved with the development of the latest ADAS technologies and self-driving cars via panels, presentations and conversations.
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