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Rebecca Wayman

Government advances on new trials for self-driving vehicles

Aiming to support the UK automotive and technology industries, today (February 6) the government has revealed that a process is being developed to support the advanced trials of automated vehicles.

Such advanced trials are not said to be supported unless they have passed ‘rigorous’ safety assessments.

In response to feedback from industry, the government has also announced that its code of practice for testing automated vehicles will be strengthened further to set even clearer expectations for safe and responsible trials.

Jesse Norman, future of mobility minister, said: “Thanks to the UK’s world class research base, this country is in the vanguard of the development of new transport technologies, including automation.

“The government is supporting the safe, transparent trialling of this pioneering technology, which could transform the way we travel.”

With the UK’s market for connected and automated vehicles estimated to be worth £52bn by 2035, this could be a boost to a sector open to investment from some of the world’s biggest transport technology companies.

Richard Harrington, automotive minister, added: “The UK has a rich heritage in automotive development and manufacturing, with automated and electric vehicles set to transform the way we all live our lives.

“We want to ensure through the Industrial Strategy Future of Mobility Grand Challenge that we build on this success and strength to ensure we are home to development and manufacture of the next generation of vehicles.

“We need to ensure we take the public with us as we move towards having self-driving cars on our roads by 2021. The update to the code of practice will provide clearer guidance to those looking to carry out trials on public roads.”

This announcement is said to be a major stepping stone in the government’s Future of Mobility Grand Challenge, part of the UK’s modern Industrial Strategy. It aims to take advantage of UK engineering and technology to make journeys safer, cleaner and cheaper.

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