Distant driving from abroad faces ban in England and Wales | Self-driving vehicles

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The distant driving of automobiles from abroad, similar to for the supply of rental vehicles, may very well be banned following a government-commissioned overview.

The overview was carried out by the Regulation Fee of England and Wales, which really helpful ministers regulate the know-how.

It’s at the moment used solely in managed environments, similar to farms and warehouses, however future functions may search to increase its use within the UK to the supply of rental vehicles.

The know-how permits for automobiles to be managed remotely, doubtlessly in public areas. There may be at the moment no UK regulation for a driver to be within the car they’re controlling.

The fee stated “difficulties in enforcement” meant distant driving from abroad needs to be prohibited “till applicable worldwide agreements are in place”.

It instructed ministers that distant driving in public needs to be allowed provided that firms obtained particular permissions.

The overview additionally said {that a} distant driver needs to be chargeable for their actions in the identical manner as somebody sitting behind the wheel of a car, however there needs to be no legal responsibility for faults past their management, similar to connectivity failures.

Nicholas Paines KC, the general public regulation commissioner, stated: “Distant driving is an thrilling know-how, however earlier than we see remotely operated vehicles on UK roads we should handle security considerations by means of robust regulation.

“Our recommendation concludes that within the fast time period, the federal government would be capable of handle some gaps within the regulation round distant driving utilizing current powers, whereas additionally offering a path for firms to make use of the know-how lawfully supplied that their techniques are secure.

“In the long run, it may arrange a full system of distant driving regulation. Laws should reply to different elementary considerations round safety threats and legal responsibility within the occasion of an accident.

“Our recommendation paper units out a highway map for a way the federal government can handle these issues, while additionally encouraging firms to innovate.”

The transport minister Jesse Norman stated: “Distant driving is already being efficiently used off-road in a number of industries and has enormous potential to offer new providers and security options for highway automobiles.

“The federal government wants to make sure that security is on the forefront of using any new know-how, and the division will rigorously contemplate the Regulation Fee’s suggestions.”

Final yr, the fee additionally really helpful that customers of self-driving vehicles ought to have immunity from a variety of motoring offences, together with harmful driving, rushing and leaping pink lights.

The headline of this text was amended on 20 February 2023 as a result of it incorrectly referred to “self-driving automobiles”. Because the textual content of the article made clear the overview referred to distant driving.

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