The draft law regulating the operation of self-driving cars would make the company that operates the car responsible, not the person behind the wheel. It also wants to ban misleading marketing.
King Charles III introduced a novelty in his speech on the floor of the parliament on Tuesday – a bill that would transfer responsibility from the operation of an autonomous vehicle to the company that operates it, instead of the person sitting behind the wheel. This means a shift from today’s situation, where a flesh and blood driver is always responsible for the car.
The news is part of the government’s plan to create a new industry with a theoretical turnover of up to 42 billion pounds (1.19 trillion crowns), which would also create 38,000 jobs. But it comes at a time when the development of autonomous vehicle driving is stumbling worldwide.
Last month, Cruise, the self-driving arm of General Motors, shut down its entire fleet of robotic taxis in California. The state suspended her license due to accusations that she withheld a key video of an accident of one of her prototypes. Last year, the automakers Volkswagen and Ford withdrew their support for the start-up Argo AI, which was supposed to develop self-driving cars for them, saying that they want to focus on driving assistant technologies that are actually achievable.
At the same time, the bill prohibits companies from advertising capabilities in their cars that they do not actually have. Only cars that meet certain safety requirements will be able to be advertised as self-driving. It is not yet clear what impact this would have on Tesla, which currently offers “Full Self Driving”, while its cars actually “only” offer driving assistants that must be continuously monitored by a human driver.
The UK is coming up with a framework for self-driving cars later than some other countries. In France and Germany, testing is permitted from 2022 or 2021, and in California, such cars can be tested without a person behind the wheel even from 2018.