MPs unaware of autonomous vehicles’ impact: IMI

MPs are yet to grasp the impact of modern vehicle technology on the motor industry, according to the Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI).

The comment was triggered by a survey from polling company Dods which found a ‘general lack of knowledge amongst our legislators on the impact of autonomous vehicles’. The survey was carried out in November and December 2014 and involved 100 MPs.

According to the poll close to half of MPs are against additional funding for driverless cars.  This was despite recent government plans to prepare legislation and infrastructure to allow driverless cars to be tested on UK roads in 2015.

The poll revealed that 42% of MPs remained unsure of the impact of autonomous vehicles on road safety, while 51% of respondents voiced concerns over these cars’ impact on the insurance industry.

IMI chief executive Steve Nash said: “Even a cursory glance at the latest technology news shows a great deal of investment going into driverless vehicles. High profile companies including the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Google, Nissan and even NASA are all now engaged. This technology is not going away. Even if we don’t see fully autonomous vehicles on sale in the next few years, the advancement in technology will have a huge impact on normal vehicles. 

MP’s are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel and need to start paying closer attention to the implications of these changes; both in terms of legislative issues and the large skills gaps it will create in the automotive workforce who maintain cars.”

Nash highlighted that the development of these vehicles has great implications for repairers, questioning MPs understanding of this issue. IMI is now campaigning to get licensing for automotive technicians, to halt the present state where anyone can set himself to work on driver assist systems.