Chris Grayling, the new transport secretary, has announced that the Modern Transport Bill will be published early next year to help Britain become a world-leader in autonomous driving technology.
In his address to the Conservative Party Conference on 3 October, Mr Grayling heralded the ‘transport revolution’ that driverless cars will bring, insisting the technology will ‘transform’ the lives of the elderly and disabled.
The speech, featured in a news report by the RAC, also urged business to help make the UK a global hub for driverless vehicles.
The Modern Transport Bill, first announced in the Queen’s Speech in May, is intended to encourage investment in driverless and electric cars, and ensure insurance is available to users of driverless vehicles.
It is hoped the legislation will help to cut congestion for motorists, boost the UK’s economy and make more efficient use of the country’s road network.
The Bill is one of a number of ways the Government, which expects the development of driverless cars to play a vital role in the country’s economic future, is pursuing the growth of the technology.
In March, it confirmed that the UK would hold trials for driverless lorries, while in February it announced a further £20m would be invested in developing the technology.
The Government is also supporting the UK’s first public autonomous vehicle trial, currently taking place in Greenwich.
Mr Grayling told delegates at the Conservative Party Conference: “I recently had my first experience of a driverless car – and, believe me, it’s a very unusual experience.
“But, do you know what, it’s all of our futures – and what a difference it’s going to make. And I think particularly what is exciting about this is the difference it’s going to make to the lives of the elderly or disabled. I think it will transform their lives almost more than anyone else’s in our society.
“It will mean better use of our roads, more reliable journeys, safer motoring – and I want us to be at the forefront of that.”