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Automated Vehicles Act brings self-driving vehicles closer to reality

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Self-driving vehicles are set to be on British roads by 2026 following the enactment of the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act.

Automated vehicles are expected to improve road safety by reducing human error, which is estimated to be responsible for 88% of road collisions.

The AV Act, which was first announced in the King’s Speech of November 2023, attempts to position the UK as a leader in self-driving technology regulation, that according to government estimates, will potentially unlock a £42 billion industry and create over 38,000 skilled jobs by 2035.

The legislation mandates that self-driving vehicles must meet high safety standards at least equivalent to careful and equivalent human drivers and includes rigorous safety checks before vehicles are road-ready. This could significantly reduce accidents caused by drink driving, speeding, fatigue, and inattention.

Self-driving vehicles may also be able to help address driver shortages, such as those being experienced by the haulage industry. It could also have real value in mining and other industries where work is dangerous.

The AV Act follows successful trials by British companies like Wayve and Oxa, which are testing self-driving cars in London and Oxford.

Transport Secretary Mark Harper hailed the law as a milestone for the self-driving industry, expecting that self-driving vehicles will enhance travel safety and boost the economy.

Key industry figures, including Paul Newman of Oxa and Alex Kendall of Wayve, praised the Act for its rigorous standards and its potential to establish the UK as a global leader in autonomous vehicle technology.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-driving-vehicles-set-to-be-on-roads-by-2026-as-automated-vehicles-act-becomes-law

 

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