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House of Lords starts driverless car inquiry

Date: 16 November 2016   |   Author: Tristan Young

The integration of autonomous cars onto UK roads is being investigated by a House of Lords Science and Technology Committee inquiry launched this month.

The inquiry's aim is to provide oversight to the Government's plans for driverless cars.
According to the committee, because "the UK has the potential to become a world leader in developing, producing and deploying autonomous vehicles", the scope of the investigation is to look at the potential uses and benefits of autonomous vehicles in contexts such as road transport, farming and space exploration.

The committee will investigate the progress being made by the trials in Bristol, Milton Keynes and Greenwich, and the issues they have highlighted relating to the deployment and regulation of driverless cars as well as social and behavioural issues.

The inquiry will also examine the extent to which the UK will have to align itself with future international regulation for self-driving vehicles in areas such as cyber-security and data handling and will assess what progress has been made in European and global regulation of autonomous vehicles.

Written evidence was submitted to the inquiry last month with November dedicated to oral evidence.
Chair of the committee, Lord Selborne, said: "Rapid progress is being made in the development of autonomous vehicles. Autonomous vehicles are being developed for a range of different purposes and have the potential to bring great benefits across a range of different sectors."

He continues: "We will examine what the Government is doing to support research into developing autonomous vehicles in the UK, as well as the real-world implications as these vehicles start to appear on the roads and in the workplace. If the UK is to be at the forefront of this transport revolution, investment into research is vital to ensure the technology is perfected, allowing the public to embrace the use of autonomous vehicles.

"There are potentially considerable economic opportunities and public good benefits from this technology. We will look at whether the Government's actions are appropriate in supporting these opportunities."