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UK to Discuss New Rules for Autonomous Cars


Britain announced new regulation to speed up the adoption of driverless cars by 2021.

Following  last year’s budget— in which driverless vehicles were listed together with AI  among the strategic tech sectors the UK planned to foster with new funds— the UK government is now conducting a three-year law review aimed to “pave the way for self-driving cars”.

The law review, to be carried out by the Law Commission of England and Wales together with the Scottish Law Commission, will deal with momentous issues such as public acceptance of the technology, liability in case of accidents and insurance-related details.

More specifically, the effort is aimed at addressing matters such as: who is to be considered the “driver” in an autonomous car; who is legally liable in a situation where a human driver and  a computer share the control of a vehicle; how driverless vehicles could be integrated in public transport networks; and whether new kind of traffic offences need be introduced to deal with the technology.

UK Roads minister Jesse Norman commented on the development in a statement: “The UK is a world leader for self-driving vehicle research and development, and this work marks an important milestone in our continued commitment to the technology,” she said.

“With driving technology advancing at an unprecedented rate, it is important that our laws and regulations keep pace so that the UK can remain one of the world leaders in this field.”

Law commissioner Nicholas Paines also commented on the news, saying: “British roads are already among the safest in the world and automated vehicles have the potential to make them even safer. Provided our laws are ready for them. We’ll now start consulting widely on how the law should work with this new technology and develop reforms which enable the use of self-driving vehicles in the years to come.”

The review is part of Britain’s new industrial strategy, a big chunk of which comprises encouraging mobility innovation.

Image via GATE



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