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Is the future for connected vehicles uncertain?

16.03.2020

Recently, the Urban Transport Group published a report: “Automatic for the people?” on the issues and options for authorities on connected and autonomous vehicles in the UK. The report seeks to deliver an objective framework for the city regions to think about the approaches they might take regarding connect and autonomous vehicles.

The report recognises vehicles which are increasingly connected and autonomous. And it also considers that the range of connected and autonomous goes beyond just the cars and include buses and public service vehicles. It examines the safety, economic, social and environmental considerations of CAV’s.

The report laid six recommendations to the UK government:

  • Support transport authorities to make connections with national policy makers and CAV manufacturers.
  • Maintain a balanced research programme into the impacts of CAV’s.
  • National government should offer assistance to transport authorities on how to manage a lengthy – potentially indefinite – transition to CAV technologies.
  • Ensure transport authorities have the long-term funding assurance they need to plan for, and respond to CAV’s.
  • More research and funding should be focused on the highways CAV’s will run on.
  • Develop a legal and regulatory framework for CAV’s which gives transport authorities the powers they need both to innovate and to balance the consumer interest with wider local public interest.

Vernon Everitt, Managing Director, Customers, Communication and Technology at Transport for London, and who leads on smart futures for the Urban Transport Group Board of Directors, said:

“Vehicles are already becoming more connected and taking on more autonomous features. Although ultimately we do not know how fast and far the CAV trajectory will take us, this report provides a framework for transport authorities to think through the implications CAVs may have for their transport networks and the role cities might play now and in the future. It also sets out a series of recommendations for national Government and calls for urban transport authorities to be given a place at the top table in determining and implementing an effective national strategy for CAVs.

“Overall, the report shows that if the Government adopts a broad and inclusive approach to the development of CAVs then there could be fantastic opportunities to maximise for the benefit of people, places and the UK economy as a whole. As city regions, we will play a significant role in influencing the appropriate roll out of such technologies. We will continue to put safety first and introduce solutions that support cities’ diverse and complex needs.”

The report tells if we are to get the best emerging CAV technologies, then we need to take a wider view of the vehicles which can benefit, and the infrastructure they run on.

Overall, the report says despite all of the many unanswered questions which surround CAV’s, one thing can be certain that we cannot wait in hope that CAV’s will save us. It expresses that a lot can be achieved with the tools available now and investing in the tools will hold the good until more autonomous vehicles become mainstream feature of our transport network.

To read the full report please visit here.

Photo copyright @ Intelligent Transport

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