New laws for self-driving vehicles announced within the Queen’s Speech

In April, techUK signed a letter coordinated by Wayve and the insurer AXA, urging the Prime Minister Boris Johnson to include AV legislation within the Queen’s Speech.

The Government announced yesterday that it will work to create new laws for self-driving vehicles in the next Parliamentary session following a cross-sector letter expressing the benefits that AVs will deliver for road safety, inclusive transport, environment and national economy.

The announcement represents a significant step forward for the sector which has been calling for legislation for several years. New laws will enable AV deployment and bring the UK in-step with the progress of EU states and the USA.

In January, the Law Commission for England and Wales published the findings of a three-year inquiry into legal reforms for AVs. The Government is now considering the Law Commission’s findings which will form the basis of the emerging legislation and if you wish to know more about what legislation has been proposed, you can read the round-up of a briefing event techUK ran for our members in February here.

The next step will be for the Government to publish its formal response which we hope to see delivered swiftly. In our position paper last year, we highlighted that the UK’s slower pace risks a lost opportunity for the UK with the development of EU-wide autonomous vehicle regulation already well under way.  

Research suggests that the global market for AVs is predicted to be worth £650bn by 2035, of which the UK is estimated to gain £41.7bn, creating 49,000 highly skilled green jobs in 2035, and a further 23,000 jobs from AV technologies.

We continue to collaborate closely with the sector and the Government, through the Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CCAV), to ensure that emerging legislation reflects the view of the industry and moves at a pace that allows us to seize the huge opportunities which lay ahead.

Come along to our Department for Transport event this Friday

For those interested to learn more about what the DfT has in store for connected and automated mobility deployments, come along to our event this Friday (13 May) to hear from Michael Talbot, Deputy Head of CCAV and Innovate UK.

A step forward for Great British Railways

Also in the Queen’s Speech was the announcement that the Government will create the legislative vehicle to establish Great British Railways (GBR) as “the single national leader of the railways”.

The shift to GBR is a generational opportunity for the technology industry to help transform our railways through improving reliability, connectivity, and efficiency. The Government has stated that GBR will promote the use of open data and will be at the “forefront of [rail] innovation”.

We hope GBR will be used as an opportunity to breakdown historic silos within the rail sector which have inhibited innovation and integration with the wider transport landscape.

If we are to achieve the ambitious transport decarbonisation goals, we must ensure the railways are positioned as a plausible and attractive travel option that harness technology to ensure a reliable, connected and integrated service.

We will continue to engage with the GBR transition team to ensure the private sector maintains significant involvement in spearheading the innovation opportunity.

Electrifying the pace of EVs

Another crucial step towards net zero is the transition to EVs and the phasing out of internal combustion engine vehicles (ICE) by 2035. The Government, in its recently published EV Infrastructure Strategy, has said that we will need to install 300,000 public chargepoints as a minimum by 2030 if we are to support this shift but currently, patchwork supply and poor consumer experience is undermining the confidence people need to make the switch to electric. You can read our round-up of the strategy here.  

The Queen’s Speech made a commitment that the Government would start delivering on this plan through supporting local authorities and chargepoint installers to supply ahead of demand. We will continue to work closely with the Office for Zero Emission Vehicles (OZEV) to ensure the voice of the digital technology sector is represented and that the opportunity for future innovation such as bidirectional charging, fast-fibre rollout for IoT and connected mobility, wireless and conductive charging technologies are all fully realised.  

If you wish to learn more about techUK’s involvement across any of these areas or how to get involved with our Intelligent Mobility and Transport working group then please contact Ashley Feldman, Programme Manager for Transport and Smart Cities at [email protected].

Ashley Feldman

Ashley Feldman

Programme Manager, Transport and Smart Cities , techUK

Ashley Feldman is the programme manager for transport and smart cities, at techUK. 

Ashley joined techUK in 2022 having worked in the public policy and communications industry for four years. He specialised in advising businesses in the infrastructure, built environment and transport sectors on a wide range of issues including stakeholder engagement and corporate reputation management. 

Ashley obtained a masters degree in Urbanisation and Development studies at the London School of Economics. 

[email protected]
020 7331 2038

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