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A quarter of new cars launched by 2030 will be capable of autonomous driving, says SMMT

Date: 27 March 2015   |   Author:

New research commissioned by the Society of Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) predicts that a quarter of all new cars sold by 2030 will be capable of autonomous driving.

The Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: The UK Economic Opportunity report carried out for the SMMT by KPMG goes further to predict that traffic accidents will be reduced by more than 25,000 a year with the introduction of driverless cars.

KPMG said these cars are expected to boost the UK economy by £51 billion and the rate of introduction of autonomous technology will reach 75% of all new cars sold by 2040.

The report also predicts that vehicles will be available that can be driven in autonomously on the motorway as early as 2025, while highly autonomous and fully autonomous vehicles will not be available until 2030.

Premium brands like Jaguar Land Rover are expected to pave the way with new technology first and vehicles with high autonomy technology will carry a premium between £2500 and £2000 and full autonomy between £4500 and £3500.

KPMG said the motor insurance industry will be disrupted as safety improves and driver behaviour and accident event data becomes more widely available. Premiums are expected to fall and liability will shift from drivers to manufacturers.

Manufacturers are expecting the Government to incentivise take up of cars featuring autonomous technology, but KPMG admits it will take "many years" for the tech to become widespread across the UK's 30 million vehicle parc.

What is a highly autonomous vehicle?

The SMMT classifies a vehicle with high autonomy as meaning a driver is not required during a defined use case and it would mean a car would be able to drive itself in the city and on the motorway. However, the vehicle would still have the controls available to let a driver take back control.

What is a fully autonomous vehicle?

The SMMT classifies full autonomy as a system which can perform dynamic driving in all situations encountered during the entire journey. No driver required.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said, "Connected and autonomous cars will transform our roads and the way our society functions for generations to come, dramatically reducing accidents and helping to deliver more than £50 billion to our economy.

"The KPMG report clearly shows the UK automotive industry is leading the way in developing the cars of the future and that it will act as a catalyst for wider economic benefits that will create more than 300,000 jobs by 2030.

"The UK must grasp the opportunities ahead and ensure it is continually at the forefront of pushing through these next breakthrough technologies."

Mike Bell, global connected car director, Jaguar Land Rover, said: "The potential of the connected car is huge.

"It is certainly one of our top priorities and we are making a significant investment in the technology, skills and partnerships to make this a reality.

"Jaguar Land Rover is taking a leading role and is actively embracing the connected car. We have huge potential to ensure the car has a prominent role in the Internet of Things, which will enhance the driving experience and make driving smarter, safer and even cleaner in the years to come."

John Leech, head of automotive at KPMG in the UK, said: "Our study has established that the UK is well-positioned to capitalise on the development and production of connected and autonomous cars.

"Not only will these developments help vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers, but they will bolster jobs, trade and productivity across the economy. Connected and autonomous vehicles will promote social inclusion, reduce pollution and save lives. This represents an important opportunity for the economy but one that requires continued focus and commitment from government and business."