techUK welcomes the Automated Vehicles Act and sets out next steps

The vital legislation passed into law having received Royal Assent

We are delighted that the Automated Vehicles Act (AV Act), a vital piece of legislation that will enable self-driving vehicles to safely enter operation on public roads, has passed into law.  

The AV Act sets the legal foundation for type-approval, safety regulation and in-use monitoring of AVs on GB roads. The framework has been designed following a world-leading four-year review of the legal implications of self-driving vehicles by the Law Commission for England and Wales and Scottish Law Commission.  

The passing of the Automated Vehicles Bill is a fantastic step forward for UK innovation. This is a stand-out example of policymakers working in lockstep with innovators to develop a progressive regulatory system that drives investment in transformative technologies. This legislation is just the beginning. The next few years will be essential for developing detailed regulations and technical requirements that allow automated vehicles to hit the road safely. We need to see the government publishing and committing to an ambitious timeline for deployment. The quicker these vehicles enter operation, the quicker we can build public trust and understanding of the technology and leverage the significant benefits.

Julian David, CEO


We welcome the UK’s regulatory approach, designed with safety at its core. Under the forthcoming regulations, businesses will be required to demonstrate compliance with a robust set of safety principles and standards determined by the Transport Secretary. 

Other aspects introduced by the AV Act include newly defined legal liabilities and corporate responsibilities, including a duty for manufacturers and developers, known as ‘Authorised Self-Driving Entities’, to provide monitoring and evaluation data to the regulator while vehicles are in-use.   

The AV Act takes the UK closer to jurisdictions such as California that are already seeing the positive impact of self-driving vehicles. However, we are still some time off seeing commercial deployment due to the requirement for government to complete the regulatory system through secondary legislation. 

As such, techUK is calling for the following actions to ensure we can embrace the benefits of autonomy as soon as possible: 

  1. Implement a regime for trialling AV services by 2025 

The UK's world-leading AV industry needs regulatory path to trialling driverless services on public roads, in line with the Government’s CAM 2025 strategy. Trialling regimes are already in place in other countries and they are key for both building public confidence in the technology and allowing businesses to begin exploring services that can make a positive impact on people's lives. 

  1. Complete the UK's regulatory framework for AV operation  

The AV Act is a great step forward but AV services will not be fully commercially available on public roads without a suite of secondary legislation which faces potential delays. The industry stands ready to support the government in developing a world-leading regulatory system with safety at its core. 

  1. Make AVs part of UK advanced manufacturing  

The government’s Advanced Manufacturing Plan 2023 should be used to supercharge domestic ‘native’ driverless vehicle manufacturing in the UK. The creation of a new high-value manufacturing sector is essential to meet the anticipated global demand for self-driving vehicles, while supporting growth in the UK economy.  

techUK has been a vocal advocate for the self-driving vehicles sector, consistently calling for the creation the necessary regulatory framework to be put into place to unleash the benefits of autonomy. 

Through our Self-Driving Vehicles Working Group, we are convening businesses from across the technology, legal and insurance landscape to illustrate the ‘art of the possible’, highlight adoption barriers and work with government and regulators to develop sound policy. 

Ashley Feldman

Ashley Feldman

Programme Manager, Transport and Smart Cities, techUK

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