Driverless cars could boost the British economy by a staggering £62 billion by 2030; that’s according to the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
A Leading Position
The car industry believes Britain is poised to profit from driverless cars and autonomous driving technologies by 2030; unless we face a ‘no deal’ Brexit. A report published by SMMT has claimed that the UK is in a significantly better position to exploit the developments than other European countries. This is because of ‘favourable legislation’ and a greater proportion of road infrastructure being appropriate for their use.
The Chief Executive of the SMMT, Mike Hawes, has stressed how much money has already been invested in driverless cars. This includes £500 million in research and development, in addition to £700 in communication infrastructure. He said, “the opportunities are dramatic – new jobs, economic growth and improvements across society. The UK’s potential is clear. We are ahead of many rival nations but to realise these benefits we must move fast.”
But Brexit Threatens It?
Despite considerable investment and a lead on our neighbours, Brexit could compromise future growth. Hawes cautioned, “no deal is not an option and would be catastrophic for this industry, and the UK’s position globally would be undermined. While we are devoting a huge amount of money to Brexit it is sucking up time, energy and investment we would rather be devoting to technology challenges.”
The report mentions that widespread testing of driverless cars is already being carried out. It also mentions that the industry is working hard to realise the government’s target of getting the vehicles on our roads by just 2021. It claims that the UK has the ‘essential building blocks’ to spearhead their development. These include “forward-thinking legislation, advanced technology infrastructure, a highly skilled labour force and a tech-savvy customer base” to spearhead their deployment. Interestingly, the UK also has the world’s first legislation concerning the insurance of autonomous vehicles. The report also claims that the vehicles could help prevent 47,000 injuries and save 3,900 lives over the next decade.
Not Everyone’s Convinced
As hopeful as the SMMT’s report is, not everyone in motor industry shares their optimism. Andy Palmer, the Chief Executive of Aston Martin, doesn’t believe we’re close to full autonomy. He said, “you’re going to see robotaxis in geofenced areas as early as 2021-22. I don’t think you’ll see commercial distribution of level-four vehicles until the mid-2020s. I don’t think you’ll see level five in my career. To drive up a mountain or a Delhi or London street – I think we’re dreaming if we think it’s going to be around the corner.”
The Best British-Made Cars: http://autoserve.co.uk/motoring-news/the-best-british-made-cars/
Would You Use A Driverless Car? – https://www.autoserveclub.co.uk/blog/would-you-use-a-driverless-car/