The Government has set out new measures as part of its ongoing campaign to ensure the UK becomes a ‘world leader’ for autonomous and electric vehicles.
Announced by the DfT today (22 Feb), the measures include new insurance rules for self-driving cars and improved provision of electric vehicle charge points.
Introduced as part of the Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill, the measures will come into effect immediately and are designed to break down barriers that the DfT says could inhibit companies from testing the technology in the UK.
In terms of self-driving cars, the Bill includes a single insurance product for automated vehicles that covers both the motorist when they are driving, as well as the car when it is in automated mode.
The DfT says this will give better protection to innocent victims involved in a collision with an automated vehicle, by providing quick and easy access to compensation.
It will also allow the driver to hand full control and responsibility to the self driving vehicle when the technologies are turned on.
Chris Grayling, transport secretary, said: “Automated vehicles have the potential to transform our roads in the future and make them even safer and easier to use, as well as promising new mobility for those who cannot drive.
“But we must ensure the public is protected in the event of an incident and today we are introducing the framework to allow insurance for these new technologies.”
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Focussing on electric vehicles, the measures set out under the Bill are designed to ensure the right infrastructure is in place for this ‘growing market’.
The DfT says that under planned new legislation, motorway services and large fuel retailers could be made to provide electric charge points and hydrogen refuelling stations.
Information about the location and availability of charging stations would also be openly available, making it easier for drivers to use the different networks.
John Hayes, minister of state for transport, said: “If we are to accelerate the use of electric vehicles we must take action now and be ready to take more action later.
“I recognise that to encourage more drivers to go electric, the infrastructure needs to become even more widespread than the 11,000 charging points already in place and more straightforward.
“We are determined to do all we can to make electric vehicles work for everyone and these new laws will help make this a reality.”