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DfT set policies on autonomous vehicles

DfT set policies on autonomous vehicles

The Department for Transport (DfT) has confirmed it will use public sector fleets as a test to lead future policy to address insurance liability concerns surrounding autonomous vehicles.

The British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA) have met with the DfT to discuss the vehicle technology and aviation bill 2016/17.

Patrick Cusworth, BVRLA senior policy advisor, said: “We went through the bill and the DfT has confirmed to us it only applies to the public sector at this point. At the moment, there is no great change for the private sector as this will come further down the line.”

The bill suggests that where an accident is caused by an automated vehicle when driving itself and the vehicle is insured at the time of the accident, the insurer will be liable for the damage. The insurer would have the right to make a subsequent claim against the manufacturer of the car if it is thought to be the cause of the accident.

Chris Grayling added: “There are enormous possibilities ahead with these technologies. In a few years, we will all increasingly have the opportunity to use semi-automated and automated vehicles.

“However, to make these technologies a reality, we need to act now. We need to create the regimes that will help developers to bring their products to market in a safe way that protects consumers.”

Chris Grayling expects it to be at least another 10 years before fully automated vehicles will be on the roads in private use in the UK.

Cusworth added: “This is the government setting out its stall first before looking at the private sector.

“The DfT is waiting on international feedback from the United Nations on the Harmonisation of Vehicle Regulations and this will help inform how it proceeds on this complex issue in the future.”

Cusworth said he is happy with the DfT’s approach to liability in relation to automated cars but he said the BVRLA remains concerned there has still been no clarification on connected car data access.

The bill also references the government to try and improve clarity around the UK’s EV charging organisation.

The DfT is looking to introduce new regulations to clarify several areas including locations, operating hours, costs, methods of payment and access, connections and information on whether a charge point is actually working. The DfT has also suggested it may introduce legislation to require installation of public charge points across the UK’s large fuel retailers.