A new report by the Institute of Mechanical Engineers is calling on the Government and the industry to encourage faster development of driverless vehicles.

According to the report, making all vehicles autonomous could prevent up to 95% of all traffic accidents, while resulting in up to £51bn a year through fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade.

The IME said there needs to be more action from the Government to help integrate autonomous vehicles into the transport network, including standardisation of road signage and road markings.

The ‘Autonomous and Driverless Cars’ report makes three key recommendations:

  • A public consultation should be conducted, bringing together a working group that includes industry, legislators and members of the general public to look at how laws can be implemented.
  • All car dealerships and garages should work with vehicle manufacturers to ensure they can provide adequate information, and give the required training to any car buyers.
  • The Department for Transport should address the safety issues of mixed road use, looking at how autonomous vehicles can be integrated into the road network with appropriate road signage and markings in place.

“We need to urgently resolve legislative, technological and insurance issues to help encourage the rollout of autonomous or driverless vehicles,” said Phillippa Oldham, head of transport at IME.

“There is also a role for the car dealerships and vehicle manufacturers as they will need to clarify how they will provide the greater level of after-sales care, technical updates and upgrades that will be required to ensure the safe introduction of these vehicles on our roads.”

Driverless car trials are currently underway in a number of locations across the UK, as part of a £100m Government pledge to aid autonomous vehicle development.