It may be summer but work to evolve how we drive, and how we're tested on our driving, hasn't slowed down at DFT. Two important consultations, launched in July, are ongoing and your views are sought on not only changes to the practical car test, but also on new driving technology-including driverless cars.
The Department for Transport launched a nationwide consultation on driverless cars with views sought on how car insurance will be changed and what the future Highway Code may look like on July 11 and is the start of a rolling programme of reform on the roadmap to fully automated vehicles. It can be completed at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-measures-to-help-britain-lead-the-way-in-developing-driverless-technology
Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: "Driverless car technology will revolutionise the way we travel and deliver better journeys. Britain is leading the way but I want everyone to have the chance to have a say on how we embrace and use these technologies."
The proposed changes to insurance will be brought forward in the Modern Transport Bill. And on top of £19million already ploughed into driverless car research, there are three working prototypes that will begin testing this year and a further £30 million is up for grabs for further research and development. There's also an official code of practice for testing driverless cars on UK roads published by the Department for Transport (DfT).
While fully autonomous cars are not expected to be in use in the UK for perhaps another decade, ministers said they wanted to act now to ensure that Britain "leads the way" in developing driverless technology.
But the quest to create an automotive revolution in turn creates a whole new set of challenges. For example, if a partly automated vehicle crashes into another car, who is to blame - the"driver" or the manufacturer?
The Highway Code will also have to be updated because, one example-when remote control parking becomes commonplace, drivers will be routinely breaching rule 160 which states that when the car is moving, "you should drive with both hands on the wheel where possible ".
But the big question for our industry is what will driver training look like in a new automated world? And with a fatal accident already occurring with the Tesla self drive car, it looks like the training of the 'driver' is still paramount.
Visit the consultation at Gov.UK for a full summary of the proposals and to have your say. Let us have your views in the comments section or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The consultation ends on 9th September