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Self-driving vehicles set to be on roads by 2026 as Automated Vehicles Act becomes law

27 May 2024

Road safety is at the heart of the legislation, with automated vehicles expected to improve road safety by reducing human error.

Self-driving vehicles could be on British roads by 2026, after the government’s world-leading Automated Vehicles (AV) Act became law today (20 May 2024).  

Announced in the King’s Speech, the AV Act enables advanced technology to safely drive vehicles on British roads. The new law puts Great Britain firmly at the forefront of self-driving technology regulation, unlocking the potential of an industry estimated to be worth up to £42 billion and creating 38,000 more skilled jobs by 2035.  

Road safety is at the heart of the legislation, with automated vehicles expected to improve road safety by reducing human error, which contributes to 88% of road collisions. 

The law will require self-driving vehicles to achieve a level of safety at least as high as careful and competent human drivers, as well as meeting rigorous safety checks before being allowed onto roads. Therefore, in the future deaths and injuries from drink driving, speeding, tiredness and inattention could be drastically reduced.  

 

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said:  

‘Britain stands at the threshold of an automotive revolution and this new law is a milestone moment for our self-driving industry, which has the potential to change the way we travel forever.   

While this doesn’t take away people’s ability to choose to drive themselves, our landmark legislation means self-driving vehicles can be rolled out on British roads as soon as 2026, in a real boost to both safety and our economy.’

The passage of the act bolsters the UK’s position as a world leader in emerging industries, with both the self-driving vehicle and artificial intelligence (AI) sectors bringing huge potential for economic growth as they develop.  The AV Act follows self-driving trials already taking place across the country.

Further information:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/self-driving-vehicles-set-to-be-on-roads-by-2026-as-automated-vehicles-act-becomes-law?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications-topic&utm_source=332f8896-83bd-4da1-a1cf-755e29cb1f43&utm_content=immediately