Driving tests should be adapted to ensure drivers know how to take control of an autonomous vehicle, MPs warn
- Government urged to enact laws for robust framework for autonomous vehicles
Driving tests will need to be adapted to ensure drivers know how to take control of an autonomous vehicle, a report by MPs warns.
The report, produced by the Commons Transport committee, calls on the Government to introduce new laws that establish a robust framework for autonomous vehicles.
He said the driving test will soon need to be changed to take into account that drivers “acquire and maintain the skills necessary to take control of a vehicle in all circumstances”.
But he warned that autonomous vehicles could mean worse road safety from less-practiced human drivers, saying: “More automation will reduce the time spent driving.”
«Over time, drivers can lose experience and therefore lose skills.
The report, prepared by the Commons Transport committee, calls on the Government to introduce new laws that establish a robust framework for autonomous vehicles (Stock photo)
‘On the contrary, demands on drivers will increase as they will be asked to regain control of vehicles in difficult circumstances and without warning.
“The Government should set out a strategy for the future of human driving in a world of autonomous vehicles.”
The report adds: ‘The introduction of autonomous vehicles on UK roads will affect all road users.
“We believe this should not impose new responsibilities on other road users and pedestrians, limit their access to or use of public infrastructure or, fundamentally, make them less safe.”
Urging new laws to be drawn up covering areas such as vehicle approval, accident liability and cybersecurity, MPs warned: “Failure to do so will cause significant and lasting damage to both the UK’s autonomous vehicle industry and the reputation of this country as a pioneer.”
The Government will set out proposed legislation for the next parliamentary session in the King’s speech on 7 November.
In April, the United Kingdom became the first European country to allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel on public roads, after the Department for Transport gave manufacturer Ford permission to activate its BlueCruise system on motorways.
This controls functions such as steering, acceleration, braking and lane positioning.
Fully autonomous vehicles remain banned from UK public roads, except during government-approved trials.
The report says the driving test will soon need to be changed to take into account that drivers “acquire and maintain the skills necessary to take control of a vehicle in all circumstances” (Stock Photo)
Iain Stewart, who chairs the Transport Committee, said: “Thanks to the energy and creativity of the autonomous vehicle sector, the UK has a head start in developing a vision for how SDVs (autonomous vehicles) could be introduced. The Government’s strategy is one that this committee welcomes with general satisfaction.
‘Autonomous vehicles are a huge success story in the UK and we have a competitive advantage over many other countries.
‘But all that hard work could be at risk if the Government fails to deliver and introduce a transport bill in the next parliamentary session, before the next general election.
‘Widespread adoption of SDVs faces several obstacles, including public confidence in their safety and their potential to have knock-on impacts on other road users.
‘If the Government is to fulfill its ambitions to deploy autonomous vehicles, these thorny issues need to be addressed.
“We believe the Government should take a cautious and gradual approach, introducing SDV technologies only initially in well-defined contexts, or else we risk unintended consequences.”