Driverless cars on UK roads within two years

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29th December 2023

The transport secretary believes driverless cars could feature on some UK roads, with vehicle owners able to travel without having to pay attention to where they are going, by the end of 2026.

The Government announced plans to legislate for autonomous vehicles in the King’s Speech, last month. Transport secretary Mark Harper told the BBC: “The legislation is going through parliament at the moment, so hopefully we’ll get that through parliament by the end of 2024. “Probably by as early as 2026 people will start seeing some elements of these cars that have full self-driving capabilities being rolled out.”

He stressed that the technology will be rolled out “gradually” and would be up to individuals if they want to use it. “It has a huge number of potential uses, the obvious one is 88% or so of road traffic collisions we see today are caused by driver error of some description,” he added. “There is a real potential for this sort of technology to actually improve safety on the roads, not just for drivers, not just for passengers, but for other vulnerable road users – pedestrians, cyclists – to really improve road safety, which is a real win for everybody.”

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) says that self-driving technology could help save 3,900 lives and prevent 60,000 serious accidents.

In a SMMT report published in November, the trade body also said it has the potential to deliver a £66 billion boost to the economy by 2040.

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