Should self-driving cars be approved on UK roads by 2025?

Royal Air Force trial the use of self-driving cars

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The UK Government is preparing to approve the use of self-driving vehicles on UK roads within the next three years — but do you support this? And are you concerned about their safety and trustworthiness? Vote in our poll.

The Government revealed new legislation in August detailing a £100million project to research the safety of autonomous vehicles being on the road by 2025.

The research includes the performance of self-driving cars in poor weather conditions and their interaction with other vehicles on the road, cyclists and pedestrians.

Ministers said the move would allow the UK to take advantage of new technologies and the new market of vehicles is worth an estimated £42billion and could create up to 38,000 jobs.

On Wednesday morning a Parliamentary select committee on transport met to further discuss the potential of self-driving vehicles in the UK.

On the challenges facing self-driving vehicles sharing the road with conventional vehicles, Professor Nick Reed said: “The infinite variability of the environment is the challenge so the unpredictability of the behaviours of others. So ensuring that a vehicle is capable of responding safely to those unpredictable scenarios is vital.”

Senior Technology and Innovation Manager for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders David Wong also noted the social challenges of self-driving cars, adding” Perhaps the slightly more challenging barrier is actually social attitudes and how people behave when they see automated vehicles. 

At present, fully driverless cars are not legally permitted on UK roads but manufacturers are developing autonomous features such as cruise control and the identification of speed limits.

In August then-Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said: “The benefits of self-driving vehicles have the potential to be huge. Not only can they improve people’s access to education and other vital services, but the industry itself can create tens of thousands of job opportunities throughout the country.

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“Most importantly, they’re expected to make our roads safer by reducing the dangers of driver error in road collisions. We want the UK to be at the forefront of developing and using this fantastic technology, and that is why we are investing millions in vital research into safety and setting the legislation to ensure we gain the full benefits that this technology promises.”

RAC head of roads policy Nicholas Lyes highlighted the risks involved, explaining: “While self-driving cars offer the potential to make our roads safer and increase mobility for those who can’t currently drive, the jump from driver assistance to fully autonomous remains fraught with risks, so it is welcome news the Government is backing ambitious targets with more funding.

“RAC research also shows drivers like to be in control of their vehicle, so it would require a real culture change for the public to fully embrace driverless technology.”

So what do YOU think? Should self-driving cars be approved on UK roads by 2025? Vote in our poll and leave your thoughts in the comment section below.

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