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UK Set to Have Fully Autonomous Vehicles on the Road by 2021

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UK flag

Photo: Zscout370

The UK has set 2021 as the deadline for putting fully autonomous vehicles on the road. As Chancellor Philip Hammond states, “Some would say that’s a bold move, but we have to embrace these technologies if we want the UK to lead the next industrial revolution.”

As Lucy Yu, director of public policy at FiveAI, a UK-based self-driving car technology entity, articulates: “This news secures the [country’s] position as the global leader for self-driving car development and innovation. The government’s commitment to creating a supportive regulatory framework for self-driving vehicles will further our position as a European leader by enabling the development of our technology, and encouraging further investment into the industry as a whole.”

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Philip Hammond

Chancellor Philip Hammond
Photo: Chris McAndrew

This proposed goal brings the UK one step closer to ushering in a new era of post-Brexit technological advances that will boost the overall health of the economy. Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, acknowledges the foresight of this initiative: “These vehicles will transform our roads and society, dramatically reducing accidents and saving thousands of lives every year, while adding billions of pounds to the economy.”

The 2021 projected deadline for self-driving vehicles will give the UK a clear economic vision in light of its 2019 departure from the EU, approximately one year away. While Hammond helps remove legislative barriers to testing fully autonomous vehicles within the UK, the Law Commission will unroll a new system of regulations that will free up businesses to invest in the new technology. Hammond has also proposed £400m for electric car charging points and £100m for increasing clean car sales, as well as £75m for research on artificial intelligence.

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News Sources: BBC News, The Guardian