Autonomous Vehicles May Hit UK Streets By 2026, According To Minister

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Currently, fully autonomous cars are not allowed on the roads of the United Kingdom. However, with the Automated Vehicles (AV) bill progressing through Parliament, a legal structure is expected to be established by the end of 2024.

Self-driving cars might appear on select roads in the UK by 2026, according to Transport Minister Mark Harper, who made this announcement on Wednesday.

Currently, the UK does not permit cars equipped with full self-driving technology on its roads. However, the country is processing the Automated Vehicles (AV) legislation in parliament. This means a legal framework could be ready by the end of 2024, Harper noted.

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Harper, in a discussion with BBC Radio, mentioned that the public might start seeing cars with complete self-driving abilities as early as 2026. The deployment will be incremental, with companies introducing them in specific areas.

The technology has faced scepticism, particularly after trials in the United States. Critics point to incidents where self-driving vehicles have caused accidents. For instance, California authorities directed General Motors’ autonomous car division, Cruise, to withdraw its vehicles from state roads following a crash in October.

However, Harper believes that the technology holds the potential to enhance road safety in Britain. He observed that automated vehicle technology is primarily aimed at ensuring passenger safety.

The legislation introduced in November in the UK is set to make manufacturers, rather than car owners, legally responsible for any accidents involving self-driving cars. The government claims that this bill will safeguard users and foster safety within the AV industry.

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