Autonomous vehicles offer ‘tremendously exciting’ potential benefits, including making travel by road ‘far safer’, according to the transport secretary Chris Grayling.
Mr Grayling made his upbeat assessment at a conference in London yesterday (6 Nov) organised by the Association of British Insurers (ABI) and focusing on autonomous vehicles.
The transport secretary told delegates that many who ‘can’t currently drive’ will be able to take to the road, including the elderly and those with disabilities which prevent them from driving.
He also highlighted the potential to ‘make much more efficient use of the road network’, pointing out that there are currently six cars for every 10 people in the UK – but they are only used about 3% of the time.
Connected and autonomous taxis could deliver the same number of trips with just 10% of the vehicles, he said, and an autonomous car fleet ‘could reduce delays by 40% on the strategic road network, and 30% in urban areas’.
Mr Grayling then went on to talk about the ‘huge safety implications’, and how self-driving cars will make road travel ‘far safer’.
He identified human error as the ‘biggest contributory factor to accidents today’ – responsible for more than 85% of all reported UK road incidents in 2016.
These safety benefits are coming ‘sooner than most people expect’, he added, with the first self-driving cars ‘expected to reach the market – and to be used on UK roads – by 2021’.
Click here to read the full transcript of Mr Grayling’s speech, delivered to delegates attending the ‘Changing gear – adapting to autonomous vehicles’ conference organised by the ABI on 6 November 2017.
Category: Autonomous vehicles.