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Engineers urge greater use of driverless cars

Google  driverless car

The government and industry is being urged to encourage take up of driverless vehicles, with a new report claiming they could prevent up to 95% of all traffic accidents.

The report by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers says autonomous vehicles could also bring billions of pounds to the economy, but barriers to adoption, regulatory and insurance issues.

The Institution’s head of transport and report lead author Philippa Oldham said: “There needs to be much more action from Government to help integrate driverless vehicles into the current UK transport network. This will include updates and standardisation to road signage and road markings to enable these driverless vehicles to operate in the safest way possible.

“There is also a role for the car dealerships and vehicle manufacturers as they will need to clarify how they will provide the greater level of after-sales care, technical updates and upgrades that will be required to ensure the safe introduction of these vehicles on our roads.

“Much more work needs to be done to clarify regulation and insurance issues, such as where liability lies in case of an accident.”

The report recommends a consultation on regulations, staff car dealerships and garages need better education to inform consumers and the Department for Transport needs to address the safety issues of mixed road use.

Car companies and technology companies are racking to make cars that don’t need driving in the traditional sense for at least part of the journey. Google has developed a prototype driverless car (pictured) and in the US this week it was reported that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration told Google that computers can qualify as drivers.

Last month The Gateway project, run by a consortium led by transport research firm TRL, said it was developing automated pods for testing on London’s streets.




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