New legislation crucial to retain UK's leading position in self-driving car industry – Pinsent Masons

Navigation
Search
Change language and content customisation
Find an advisor
Get in touch
Find an office
Search for:
Jump straight to:
Please enter a search term
We can use your selection to show you more of the content that you’re interested in.
Sign-up to follow topics, sectors, people and also have the option to receive a weekly update of lastest news across your areas of interest.
Got an account already?

Search for:
Please enter a search term
Out-Law News | 24 Nov 2022 | 10:47 am | 3 min. read
There is an urgent need for the current parliament to legislate and create a robust regulatory framework on self-driving vehicles to maintain the UK’s leading position in commercialising the new technology, warned experts in the future of mobility before the House of Commons Transport Committee.
As a key step in the government’s effort to bring in new laws to regulate automated vehicles on roads or other public places in Britain, the House of Commons Transport Committee has recently called in three industry experts to give oral evidence on the topic (https://committees.parliament.uk/oralevidence/11574/html/).
An overarching theme from the evidence provided is that the UK is in urgent need for new primary legislation to facilitate the use of autonomous vehicles, otherwise, innovative companies investing, or considering investing, in the UK could consider other locations.
Ben Gardner of Pinsent Masons, who was one of the three experts that gave evidence to the committee earlier this month, urged the current government to prioritise the introduction of proposed new legislation, as there are significant gaps in the existing regulatory framework and the UK is beginning to fall behind other jurisdictions in developing and deploying self-driving vehicles.
“One of the consequences [of not legislating] is that it may dissuade businesses from coming here or staying here to test, develop and commercialise that technology,” said Gardner.
“The automotive industry could really do with a shot in the arm. I think automated vehicles, connected vehicles, and the future of mobility is a real opportunity. Providing certainty for industry, or at least positioning the UK’s aspiration to become or remain a leader in the field, is crucial,” he added.
This view is shared by techUK’s transport and smart cities programme and policy manger Ashley Feldman, who was another expert witness at the session.
“There is a real risk, without wanting to sound too doom and gloom, that if we do not see legislation emerging, innovative companies investing here could basically start to atrophy,” said Feldman.
“If they cannot implement their technology and see the commercial return on their investment, then, quite frankly, the UK is perhaps not a large enough market to make it worth their while. We need a timeline in place, and we need to give certainty to the technology industry that it can continue to invest, employ and innovate,” explained Feldman.
During the evidence session, a common concern among the expert witnesses is that the UK is lagging behind in updating its regulatory framework over the emerging industry, particularly in light of the large amount of bills the government has to deal with post Brexit.
“Other jurisdictions have got very smart to the potential societal and economic benefits of self-driving vehicles,” said Gardner. He gave the example of countries in the Middle East and the Gulf Cooperation Council, which are making bold announcements to the timescales for advanced deployment of vehicles there. California and Arizona in the US were also highlighted as leaders in the race to deploy self-driving car and robo-taxi services.
However, he emphasised that the UK should not rush to legislate in response to global competition.
“That is not to say that the UK should rush, because there is a balance between safety, public confidence and stifling innovation and commercialisation, but we need to come up with a plan and make sure that there is sufficient resource within Government to ensure that we remain competitive and do not lose further pace in the race to attract business and get these things on the road,” said Gardner.
As part of his evidence, Gardner also identified the biggest initial gaps in the current legislation, which is the approval regime.
“For any vehicle to be placed on to the road and sold to the public, it needs to be approved for use and go through what is known as type approval in the UK. Different types of vehicles are recognised – for example, a private car, a van, a motorbike or a trailer. There is not a single type that would exist for a self-driving or semi-self-driving vehicle at the moment, so the entire concept of a self-driving vehicle does not particularly exist as an approved vehicle for use on the UK road network,” he explained.
“Until we get our heads around it and begin to lay out the frameworks through which such a vehicle could be legally recognised, and an approval process is created to allow it to be approved, we are not going to get very far,” said Gardner.
There is work under way, according to Gardner, in the form of an assurance and approval regime called CAVPASS, which is a cross-government and industry working group that is trying to get to the root cause of the question.
In August 2022, the government announced its plan to make self-driving vehicles operational on UK public roads by 2025 and published its response to the recommendations made by the Law Commission for England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission earlier this year. It confirmed that it intends to put in place “a robust regulatory framework” to support commercialisation of self-driving vehicle technologies and services. The most recent evidence session was the Transport Committee’s ongoing inquiry into self-driving vehicles and focused on examining the planned regulatory framework being developing around their everyday use.
Contact an adviser
Ben Gardner
Senior Associate
Out-Law News
22 Aug 2022
Out-Law News
11 May 2022
Sign-up to receive the latest news, insight and analysis direct to your e-mail inbox
Out-Law News
A legal expert has welcomed the decision of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to limit the scope of EU data collection rules designed to fight terrorism and serious crime.
Out-Law Analysis
New regulations issued this week give courts in England and Wales new powers to permit individuals overseas to watch transmissions of ‘hybrid’ court hearings combining both in-person and remote participants.
Out-Law News
The UK government should undertake a net zero tax review to establish how the tax system can best support the transition to net zero, the Climate Change Committee (CCC) has recommended in a report to parliament.
Out-Law Analysis
Pensions disputes: managing member expectations paramount
Out-Law Analysis
UK subsidy control post-Brexit: access to effective judicial remedies
Out-Law News
'Steps of court' settlement was not negligent, court rules
Out-Law News
'Vast majority' of companies not seeking to avoid tax
Out-Law News
'World first' industrial decarbonisation strategy developed in the UK
Out-Law Analysis
3D printing: UK product safety issues
Out-Law News
5G potential for business highlighted in UK funding programme
Out-Law Analysis
A global view of the law applicable to an arbitration agreement

2022 Copyright Pinsent Masons LLP
We use cookies that are essential for our site to work.  To improve our website, we would like to use additional cookies to help us understand how visitors use the site, measure traffic to our site from social media platforms and to personalise your experience.  Some of the cookies that we use are provided by third parties.  Please visit our Cookie Policy for more information. To accept all cookies click 'Accept all'.  To reject all optional cookies or choose which optional cookies to allow, click ‘Cookie settings’.  This tool uses a cookie to remember your choices.
See our Cookie Policy for more information

source

Sharing Is Caring:

Leave a Comment