The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has launched an inquiry into the future of driverless vehicles in the UK and is calling for evidence on the potential uses and benefits of the technology.
Launched last week (15 Sept), the inquiry is seeking written evidence from as wide an audience as possible and across a whole range of possible applications, from cars to public transport.
The UK Government is expecting the development of driverless cars to play a vital role in the country’s economic future, and has repeatedly expressed a desire to take a world lead in the area.
In May, the Queen’s Speech included a modern transport bill which is designed to encourage investment in driverless and electric cars, and ensure insurance is available to users of driverless vehicles.
However, earlier this year a number of Britain’s leading car insurers joined forces in response to concerns within the industry that the introduction of driverless cars could see premiums and profits slashed.
The Science and Technology Committee is seeking answers to questions, including:
- What are the potential applications for autonomous vehicles?
- What are the potential user benefits and disadvantages from the deployment of autonomous vehicles?
- Are further revisions needed to insurance, regulation and legislation in the UK to create an enabling environment for autonomous vehicles?
- Will successful deployment of autonomous vehicles require changes to digital or physical infrastructure?
Written evidence must be submitted by Wednesday 26 October, and the Committee will start taking oral evidence in November.
Lord Selborne, chair of the committee, said: “Rapid progress is being made in the development of autonomous vehicles.
“Autonomous vehicles are being developed for a range of different purposes and have the potential to bring great benefits across a range of different sectors
“We will examine what the Government is doing to support research into developing autonomous vehicles in the UK, as well as the real world implications as these vehicles start to appear on the roads and in the workplace.
“If the UK is to be at the forefront of this transport revolution, investment into research is vital to ensure the technology is perfected, allowing the public to embrace the use of autonomous vehicles.”