Self-driving vehicles closer to British roads as new project looks to 'make sure AI in cars is trustworthy'

Self-driving vehicles closer to British roads as new project looks to 'make sure AI in cars is trustworthy'

WATCH: Mark Harker tests out a self-driving car

Hemma Visavadia

By Hemma Visavadia

Published: 15/04/2024

- 15:11

The Automated Vehicles Bill is currently being moved through Parliament

Self-driving vehicles could be coming to the UK sooner than originally planned as a new testing project gets underway to further the Government's plans to boost the industry.

The Massdrive (Methods for Assurance of Self-Driving Vehicles) project at the University of Surrey has received funding to help create robust methods of approving and certifying self-driving cars as they become available.

The move comes as the UK gets one step closer to launching its Automated Vehicles Bill which is currently making its way through Parliament.

The Bill was introduced last November and will aim to regulate the growing interest in self-driving and autonomous vehicles.

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Dr Saber Fallah, Professor of Safe AI and Autonomy, said: “Massdrive is all about bringing together industry, scientists, regulators, and the public to begin a conversation about how we can make self-driving cars safe for our roads.

“Our main goal is to make sure these vehicles are safe.

“We want to create strong connections between car makers, people who set the rules, academics, government groups and local communities.

“By having regular discussions, workshops and meetings, we're creating a space where everyone can share ideas and good ways of doing things, focusing particularly on making sure the AI in cars is trustworthy.”

All self-driving vehicles will be required to undergo robust safety testing before they are permitted to drive on UK roads, with Massdrive making progress in this area.

The Bill stated: “Every authorised self-driving vehicle will have a corresponding Authorised Self-Driving Entity– often the manufacturer – which will be responsible for the behaviour of the vehicle when self-driving.”

When fully integrated, companies will have ongoing obligations to keep their vehicles safe and ensure that they continue to drive in accordance with British laws.

The UK is not the first country to develop a system designed to cope with self-driving vehicles, with the United States and European Union already having measures in place through legislation.

Rules for self-driving vehicles in Europe are set to come into force from July this year, with drivers being advised to brush up on the new safety features being rolled out.

Transport Secretary, Mark Harper, said: “Our new Bill ensures safety is at the heart of our plans to see self-driving vehicles on our roads, making the UK a great place to develop this technology.

“We have the opportunity to put the UK at the forefront of a fast-growing, multi-billion-pound industry by providing the clarity and certainty for business to develop and invest in this exciting technology.”

Tesla recently revealed it will be putting more effort and focus into its "Robotaxi" project, which will be a huge shift for the company, according to people working on the project.


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The Elon Musk-led brand is said to be ditching plans to manufacture an affordable electric vehicle, focusing instead on self-driving taxis, which it views as “the future of mobility”.

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