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Driverless vehicle consultation now open

Date: 11 July 2016   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

The Government has launched a consultation to help driverless cars appear on the country's roads.

Proposals up for debate include changing rules to allow automated vehicles to be insured for use on the roads, and altering Highway Code regulations to allow the use of driver assistance systems that change lanes autonomously and tools that enable vehicles to be parked by remote control.

The Government also confirmed it would launch a £30m competition for research and development of what it calls 'innovative connected and autonomous vehicle technologies' next month.

"Driverless car technology will revolutionise the way we travel and deliver better journeys," said transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin. "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."

"Our roads are already some of the safest in the world and increasing advanced driver assist and driverless technologies have the potential to help cut the number of accidents further," he added.

The Department for transport confirmed that insurance would remain compulsory but would be extended to cover product liability for driverless vehicles, which the DfT said would "reassure drivers that their insurance will be there if anything goes wrong."

The driver's insurer will still pay out in the normal way so road accident victims are promptly reimbursed but the insurer will then be able to claim the money back from the vehicle company if the vehicle is deemed to be at fault, the Government added.

The consultation is set to last for nine weeks and is the start of a "rolling programme of reform on the roadmap to fully automated vehicles", the DfT added.