A major consultation on changes to the Highway Code and insurance to help pave the way for automated cars to be used on British roads has been launched by the government.
Under the proposed measures, rules will be changed so automated vehicles can be insured for use on the roads.
In addition, the Highway Code and regulations are to be altered so advanced driver assistance systems that change lanes on the motorway and park the vehicle by remote control can be used safely.
Cars with advanced driver assistance features, like remote control parking and motorway assist, are expected to be on sale in Britain in the next two to four years with automated and driverless vehicles expected on the roads any time from the mid-2020s onwards.
The consultation on the two changes will last until September 9. It is the start of a rolling programme of reform on the roadmap to fully automated vehicles.
Under the proposals:
•The Highway Code and regulations will be changed to support the safe use of remote control parking and motorway assist features. The Highway Code currently says: “You must exercise proper control of your vehicle at all times. Do not rely on driver assistance systems such as cruise control or lane departure warnings.”
•Insurance law will be changed so that, in the future, motorists who have handed control to their ‘self-driving’ cars can be insured properly. The government’s idea is to extend compulsory motor insurance to cover product liability for automated vehicles to give motorists cover when they have handed full control over to the vehicle. And, that motorists, or their insurers, rely on courts to apply the existing rules of product liability – under the Consumer Protection Act, and negligence – under the common law, to determine who should be responsible.