House of Lords to investigate driverless vehicles

The House of Lords Science and Technology Committee will begin its inquiry to investigate driverless vehicles and their future on UK roads on Tuesday 1 November. The committee will hear evidence from government officials and leading academic experts.

The deployment of driverless vehicles (also known as autonomous vehicles) on UK roads raises many questions from who would be legally responsible in the case of accident to whether the UK is making sufficient preparations to infrastructure and regulation development.

This session provides an opportunity for the committee to assess how far away the UK is from the deployment of driverless vehicles on roads. The committee will also explore the progress sectors such as the marine industry and agriculture have made in developing their use off road.

At 10:40am the committee will hear from:

  • Ian Yarnold, International Vehicle Standards Division, Department for Transport
  • Iain Forbes, Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles

The committee are likely to ask:

  • Can new autonomous vehicles operate safely, efficiently and effectively on existing infrastructure or will the UK have to make significant new investments?
  • What are the anticipated benefits of Autonomous Vehicles? What problems might the increased deployment of autonomous vehicles cause?
  • The USA has been researching autonomous vehicles since around 2008, is the UK doing enough in comparison to the USA or other countries?
  • What ‘tools’ will be necessary for regulating, certifying or enforcing the software and artificial intelligence world of autonomous vehicles?

At 11:40am the committee will hear from:

  • Professor David Lane, professor of autonomous systems engineering, director of Edinburgh Centre for Robotics, Heriot-Watt University)
  • Dr Rob Buckingham, director, UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA)
  • Dr Simon Blackmore, head of engineering, Harper Adams

The committee are likely to ask:

  • Is it clear who is legally accountable for a vehicle that “thinks” for itself?
  • To what extent can the UK devise its own regulations and standards for autonomous vehicles in these sectors and is there a need for international cooperation?
  • What impact could autonomous vehicles have on employment?

The evidence session will take place in committee room 4A on Tuesday 1 November in the Palace of Westminster at 10:30am.


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