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Transport minister admits British roads 'not in great shape'

26 Apr 2019

Transport minister admits British roads 'not in great shape'

Britain's transport minister has admitted that the nation's roads are not in the condition that they should be - and that this could hold back the adoption of new autonomous vehicle technology.

Speaking to the House of Commons transport committee, Jesse Norman told MPs local roads in particular are "not in great shape" because they are seen as a less important part of the UK transport infrastructure, the Times reports.

He conceded that the government will need to make improvements to roads and streets if self-driving cars are to become a reality, as they rely on cameras that interpret road markings in order to navigate the vehicles safely.

Mr Norman admitted that many local road markings have become "inadequate" and that councils will need to provide "better marked" roads to prevent errors in autonomous vehicle operation.

The comments come after research by KPMG found the UK has slipped two places to seventh in a list of rankings on progress and capacity for adopting driverless cars. Norway and Finland both overtook it this year after making significant improvements to their infrastructure.

It is thought that the British government is keen to have autonomous vehicles in circulation by 2021.

However, motorists in the UK are likely to be more interested in seeing action as a result of Mr Norman's comments due to the potential impact of highway improvements on their cars, let alone the effects on autonomous vehicle adoption.

Earlier this month, Green Flag found drivers in this country are spending £4.09 billion a year on car repairs caused by potholes, with 56 per cent saying their vehicle has been damaged by one at some point.

To this unfortunate majority, it will not come as a surprise that the local highways are "not in great shape" - and they are likely to be keen to see what Mr Norman is going to do about it.