The UK is in ‘pole position’ in the global race to market for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs), with a £62 billion boost to the UK economy by 2030 ‘up for grabs’, according to a report published earlier this month by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) (www.smmt.co.uk
) and Frost & Sullivan.
Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Winning the Global Race to Market analyses the societal and economic benefits of gradually increasing the proportion of CAVs on the UK’s roads.
The country is in a strong position to capitalise, with more than £500 million already committed by industry and government to CAV R&D and testing.
The UK is home to four major CAV test beds, autonomous driving trials are taking place in major towns and cities, and there are more than 80 collaborative R&D projects under way.
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) such as Autonomous Emergency Braking and Collision Warning are already available on most new cars registered in the UK.
Combined with the gradual introduction of automated vehicles from 2021, this will deliver massive safety benefits. Over the next decade, this technology is expected to prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives.
The report identifies three critical areas that will help CAV roll-out and in which the UK has a significant advantage: supportive regulation, enabling infrastructure and an attractive market.
With the world’s first insurance legislation for autonomous vehicles already in place, plus the most comprehensive review of road transport under way, the UK is said to be ahead of global rivals in its readiness to commercialise self-driving technology.
The report’s key recommendations for government include: updating road traffic laws, improving 4G coverage on all road networks, encouraging local authorities to work with industry to implement urban mobility services, and influencing the future harmonisation of international regulations to ensure that these new vehicles can operate seamlessly in the UK and abroad.