New guidelines suggested for driverless cars

11 Sep 2019

New guidelines suggested for driverless cars

A set of guidelines for driverless cars has been published that its authors believe should be considered before any vehicles on our roads become fully automated.

Thatcham Research and the Association of British Insurers analysed the challenges they foresee over the coming years to come up with a list of key points for governments, carmakers and drivers themselves to take into consideration ahead of automation.

For example, they stress that automated vehicles will need to provide a good level of driver support, as well as systems that are designed to work in specific locations like motorways.

The report also states that motorists should have the ability to carry out secondary tasks such as reading emails while they are in a driverless car without their safety being compromised.

Another key point was ensuring automated vehicles are safe from cyber attacks that could alter their course - and the authors also looked at the expense of such cars, stressing that upgrades and repairs should not be prohibitively expensive.

Finally, it was recommended that all drivers would need compulsory training before they could use any self-driving systems.  

Matthew Avery, director of insurance research at Thatcham Research, said: "Automated driving is rightly seen as a sea change for road safety. However, new and emerging technologies with inexperienced users, in an increasingly complex highways environment, requires heightened levels of vigilance."

The UK government has said it wants to have autonomous cars on the roads by 2021 and it is estimated that the market for such vehicles could be worth £52 billion by 2035.

However, the AA has said that while it usually welcomes the setting of ambitious targets, this timeframe seems "extremely challenging" given the existing technical and legal challenges.

Indeed, there have been a number of reports of accidents involving driverless cars in the US, including one in which a pedestrian was killed.