techUK responds to call for evidence on the Automated Vehicles Bill

techUK has submitted a response to the House of Commons Public Bill Committee’s call for evidence on the Automated Vehicles Bill.

This landmark legislation is based on a four-year review by the Law Commission of England & Wales and the Scottish Law Commission, and lays down the groundwork for a regulatory framework facilitating the safe deployment of automated vehicles (AVs) in Great Britain. 

We believe that this framework is a strong starting point to build a full regulatory system and have expressed our support for the Bill becoming an Act without further amendment as soon as possible.  

We support the approach taken to allow the legislation to evolve with the rapidly changing technological landscape, leaving detailed technical specifications to be defined through secondary legislation. This approach ensures flexibility for future adaptations while enabling comprehensive consultation with stakeholders, including industry, road user groups, and the public. Key aspects of the Bill are summarised below: 

1. Creating a safety framework 

techUK welcomes the emphasis the AV Bill places safety. It aims for AVs to operate at a higher level standard higher than the average human driver, thus harnessing the immense potential of AVs to enhance road safety for all users. By setting internationally informed safety standards, the Bill also ensures a robust authorisation process overseen by the Vehicle Certification Agency. Additionally, it outlines detailed safety requirements to be enshrined in secondary legislation through a Statement of Safety Principles, promoting clarity and responsibility in the industry. 

2. Ensuring proper accountability 

Introducing the concept of an Authorised Self-Driving Entity (ASDE), the Bill shifts liability from human drivers to the companies behind AV technology, fostering consumer protection and industry accountability. This innovative approach, supported by criminal offenses for dishonest conduct, ensures transparent engagement with regulators and enhances overall industry learning. 

3. Enforcement 

A comprehensive enforcement regime, outlined in Schedule 1, empowers the government to investigate incidents involving ASDEs and No-User-in-Charge Operators, bolstering public trust in regulatory measures. We believe that collaborative engagement between industry and government is vital to ensure the effective exercise of these powers while addressing associated risks. 

4. Preventing misleading marketing 

The Bill prohibits the misuse of terms related to AVs, safeguarding consumers from misleading information. Given the complexity of self-driving technology, this provision is crucial for providing accurate information and managing legal liabilities effectively. 

5. Automated Passenger Services 

The Bill introduces a permitting regime for Automated Passenger Services (APS), addressing challenges in trialling passenger-carrying AVs and facilitating their introduction to the public. By emphasising accessibility and innovation, these services aim to deliver significant social and economic benefits, requiring collaborative efforts between industry, government, and disability groups. 

Conclusion 

The Automated Vehicles Bill represents a pivotal moment in the journey towards autonomous transportation in the UK. By prioritising safety, accountability, and innovation, this legislation lays a solid foundation for the responsible integration of AV technology into the country's transport ecosystem.  

You can download our full response to the Call for Evidence by clicking here.

techUK looks forward to continuing to engage constructively with stakeholders across this space to build on the foundations of the AV Bill and ensure that the UK’s self-driving vehicle industry can thrive.  

If you are interested in the work of techUK’s Self-Driving Vehicle Working Group please contact [email protected]  



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Ashley Feldman

Ashley Feldman

Programme Manager, Transport and Smart Cities, techUK