Driverless Cars make appearance in the 2017 Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech this week may have attracted criticism for not containing many policies, but one proposal will be of interest to consumers and real estate professionals alike. The Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill contains plans to push driverless car technology and to encourage the use of electric and self-driving cars.

Many concerns have been raised about the safety of driverless cars and the Bill includes an extension of car insurance to cover the use of autonomous vehicles so that compensation claims can be paid quickly in the event of any accidents. The Bill also allows the government to require the installation of electric charge points for electric vehicles at motorway services, and large fuel retailers to increase the uptake in usage of the electric vehicles. Although these proposals focus on petrol stations, query whether in future charging points will be situated elsewhere (i.e. in other public car parks; retail parks etc.) meaning the death of the petrol station as we know it, potentially releasing many parcels of land for redevelopment.

It is hoped that this bill will increase the interest and support of the driverless car revolution. It is essential that a legal framework is put in place for the driverless car concept to be a success, to increase public confidence and ultimately improve safety on our roads. The government’s aim is to support manufacturing and innovation by allowing driverless cars to operate in the UK, making us a world leader in this field. There are already several on going trials of driverless cars; with the government investing further in research and testing infrastructure. The impact on town planning and infrastructure from mass take-up of autonomous vehicles also cannot be underestimated and there is great scope here for real estate professionals to influence the debate.

The road ahead may be long but the Automated and Electric Vehicles bill is definitely a step (or, more accurately, drive) in the right direction.


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