Government Visit GATEway to Announce Driving Law Review in Preparation for Self-Driving Vehicles

By 6th March 2018News
Jesse Norman Roads Minister

6th March – today we were delighted to welcome Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Transport, Jesse Norman, and Law Commissioner QC Nicholas Paines, to the GATEway Project.

The Minister and Commissioner were welcomed by TRL’s Academy Director, Richard Cuerden, Trevor Dorling, MD of DG Cities and Kristen Fernandez-Medina, Senior Psychologist at TRL and the Technical Lead on the GATEway Project.

This is an exciting time to visit GATEway as the Project has just launched the final phase of the research trial and is currently operating a fleet of driverless pods at the Greenwich Peninsula as a shuttle service until the 29th March.

The Minister and Commissioner were able to experience the service first hand, being transported in the driverless pods, which allows participants to hop on and hop off at key locations along the Thames Path, starting at the InterContinental London – The O2 hotel.

The GATEway team provided the Minister with an update on the Project, highlighting the novel research being undertaken to understand public perceptions and attitudes to driverless vehicles, exploring the impact this technology might have on our cities of the future.

The visit coincided with a Ministerial announcement of the start of a three year review into driving laws in preparation for self-driving vehicles. The work, which will be undertaken for the Government by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission, will examine any legal obstacles to the widespread introduction of self-driving vehicles and highlight the need for regulatory reforms.

Areas which will be reviewed by the work include:

  • Who is the ‘driver’ or responsible person, as appropriate;
  • How to allocate civil and criminal responsibility where there is some shared control in a human-machine interface;
  • The role of automated vehicles within public transport networks and emerging platforms for on-demand passenger transport, car sharing and new business models providing mobility as a service;
  • Whether there is a need for new criminal offences to deal with novel types of conduct and interference ; and
  • What is the impact on other road users and how they can be protected from risk.

Richard Cuerden commented: “Speaking on behalf of the GATEway Consortium and TRL, we very much welcome the announcement made by the Minister today. The areas outlined above are all critical questions which need to be answered before we can realise the full potential of this technology.

With the expertise of our Consortium Partners, the GATEway Project has been undertaking evidence-based research into exactly these types of questions. It’s exciting to think that the research we are undertaking today, and the data we are evaluating will help to shape and inform potential changes to pertinent laws and regulations, designed to prevent future collisions and injuries on our roads, improve air quality and encourage healthy mobility, reduce congestion and increase accessibility to transport for everyone in our society.”