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What are the advantages of autonomous vehicles?

1 November 2016

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee holds the first evidence session on its new inquiry into autonomous vehicles, and hears evidence from government officials and leading academic experts.

Purpose of the session

The deployment of driverless vehicles (also known as autonomous vehicles) on UK roads raises many questions from who would be legally responsible in the case of accident to whether the UK is making sufficient preparations to infrastructure and regulation development.

The session provides an opportunity for the Committee to assess how far away the UK is from the deployment of driverless vehicles on roads. The Committee explores the progress sectors such as the marine industry and agriculture have made in developing their use off road.


Tuesday 1 November in Committee Room 4A, Palace of Westminster

At 10.40am

  • Ian Yarnold, International Vehicle Standards Division, Department for Transport (DfT)
  • Iain Forbes, Head of UK Government's Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV)

At 11.40am

  • Dr Rob Buckingham, Director, UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)
  • Dr Simon Blackmore, Head of Engineering, Harper Adam

Possible questions

Questions likely to be covered in the first session include:

  • Can new autonomous vehicles operate safely, efficiently and effectively on existing infrastructure or will the UK have to make significant new investments?
  • What are the anticipated benefits of Autonomous Vehicles? What problems might the increased deployment of autonomous vehicles cause?
  • The USA has been researching autonomous vehicles since around 2008, is the UK doing enough in comparison to the USA or other countries?
  • What ‘tools' will be necessary for regulating, certifying or enforcing the software and artificial intelligence world of autonomous vehicles?

Questions likely to be covered in the second session include:

  • Is it clear who is legally accountable for a vehicle that “thinks” for itself?
  • To what extent can the UK devise its own regulations and standards for autonomous vehicles in these sectors and is there a need for international cooperation?
  • What impact could autonomous vehicles have on employment?

Further information

Image: iStockphoto