Queens’s speech puts autonomous and electric vehicles at centre stage
The creation of conditions to encourage investment in autonomous vehicles was a notable part of the Modern Transport Bill.
This was announced in the Queens speech.
At the state opening of Parliament, the Queen introduced a Modern Transport Bill, which she said would ‘ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles.
The main elements of the bill were:
– Encouraging potential investors in autonomous vehicles, spaceplane operations and spaceports, creating highly skilled jobs and spurring innovation across the economy.
– Legislation that will put the UK at the forefront of safe technology in the autonomous vehicles industry, such as drones, and spaceplanes.
– Ensuring appropriate insurance is available to support the use of autonomous and driverless vehicles.
– Improving protection for customers by updating ATOL, the UK’s financial protection scheme for holidays by clarifying the 1992 legislation that pre-dates people booking their holidays on the internet.The Queen said the main purpose of the bill would be to cut red tape and create the right framework to allow innovation to flourish, ensure new technology delivers better, safer journeys, maintain the UK’s role in world’s transport manufacturing base and “create the conditions that drives innovation and puts the UK at the forefront of modern global transport developments as part of the country’s long term economic plan.”
The Bill has so far been generally well received in principal. Nissan, for example, said: “The proposed new legislation for the insuring of self-driving cars will have a significant role in the adoption and integration of the breakthrough technology that can help reduce traffic congestion and vehicle incidents on UK roads, as well as creating new jobs in the UK’s high-tech economy. “
Paul Willcox, chairman of Nissan Europe, said: “Any new legislation, such as we’ve seen announced, that supports the adoption and integration of autonomous vehicle technologies, is a positive for the UK.”
“Autonomously-equipped vehicles will improve the safety and well-being of drivers, with fewer collisions and reduced traffic congestion. The UK economy can also benefit, by playing a pivotal role in a global industry estimated to be worth £900billion by 2025.”
Similarly, Lesley Slater, operations and business development director at Leaseplan UK, said: “Autonomous vehicle technology is already here and the fleet industry is poised to welcome the right legislation and insurance or legal requirements needed to bring driverless vehicles onto our roads. This endorsement from our Head of State, and welcome nod to future of transport, signals Britain is at the forefront of this exciting technology which could help make our roads safer and more efficient.”