Plans to use the UK as a central testing location for driverless cars is going ahead full steam, with a member of the driverless car consortium that includes manufacturers of the vehicles, stating that he is preparing to draft laws and regulations that would further enable testing to be carried out in the country.
The consortium has said that the UK holds certain benefits over other countries; not least the fact that while the US has restrictions on where the testing can take place, the UK would be able to offer testing in a variety of different scenarios including motorway driving, city-to-city testing, and dual carriageway testing.
The government has said that it wants the UK to become the country that leads the way in this emerging technology, and have previously mooted certain laws and regulations that would come into force if driverless cars were to become commonplace. For example, every driverless car would have to have what would amount to a designated driver, who would have to have a full and valid licence and would be liable for any speeding or other offences. They would also have to remain sober and abide by other rules of the road.
Wragge Lawrence Graham, a law firm that is a member of the driverless car consortium that also includes manufacturers like Jaguar and Ford, has said that it is putting together a whitepaper proposal that could act as the framework for rules that would regulate the use and testing of driverless cars in the UK. The firm has previously said that it would be “reviewing the legal and ethical roadmap… with a view to issuing Whitepapers on subjects including data privacy.”
The consortium has indicated that it favours the UK for its testing, because of the flexible approach that has been taken by the government. As well as being an emerging technology, which is an area that Cameron and his government have shown a particular interest in getting Britain involved in, if driverless technology were to be spearheaded here in the UK then it would likely mean the creation of a large number of jobs over the coming years, but it will raise certain legal and legislative questions that need answering.