Self-Driving Vehicles to Hit British Roads by 2026 with New Legislation

By Ivan PetrenkoMay 22, 2024 18:30 PMNews
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A driver at the wheel of a car with streaks of light representing speed and technology
Automated vehicles expected to reduce road accidents. Source: unsplash

Self-driving vehicles are set to transform British roads by 2026, following the Royal Assent of the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act on May 20, 2024. This groundbreaking legislation aims to enhance travel safety and efficiency by reducing human error through advanced technology.

The AV Act, announced in the King’s Speech, positions the UK as a leader in self-driving technology. This law is expected to unlock a £42 billion industry and create 38,000 new jobs by 2035, boosting the economy and the automotive sector.

Central to the legislation is road safety. Self-driving vehicles are expected to reduce the 88% of road accidents caused by human error. The law requires these vehicles to meet stringent safety standards and pass rigorous checks before deployment.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper hailed the legislation as a major step forward, promising safer roads and economic growth. The AV Act builds on successful trials by companies like Wayve and Oxa in London and Oxford, showcasing the UK’s strong framework for automated vehicle innovation.

A key feature of the law is shifting liability from drivers to manufacturers, insurance companies, and software developers while the vehicle is in self-driving mode. This change aims to build public trust and ensure accountability.

The benefits of self-driving technology extend beyond safety. Automated vehicles promise improved mobility for those unable to drive and better connectivity for rural communities. With continued government and industry collaboration, the UK is poised to lead in this automotive revolution, making roads safer and travel more accessible.

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