Press release -
Thatcham Research comment: Safe adoption pivotal to realising the societal benefits of self-driving technology
Following today’s Government announcement regarding roll-out plans for self-driving vehicles, Jonathan Hewett, Chief Executive of Thatcham Research, responds:
“We welcome the breadth of the Government’s ambition in positioning the UK as a centre for self-driving innovation, along with the safety-first approach it has laid out.
“Ensuring that safe adoption is at the centre of its plans will play a pivotal role in realising the societal benefits of self-driving technology.
“The cars we drive are changing at an unprecedented rate. But the automotive industry is still at the lower end of a steep learning curve. It’s vital that we balance the risk with the opportunity, gathering intelligence on the different use cases for the technology and in turn understanding what it means for all road users.
“All the ingredients are present for the UK to become a global leader in this space. However, it is paramount that we make sense of the data these vehicles will provide, to inform risk and ultimately pave the way for safe adoption.
“Any challenges encountered by vehicles with self-driving capability will be heavily scrutinised. Complete clarity around the driver’s legal responsibilities, along with how the technology is marketed, how the dealer describes systems when handing over the keys and how the self-driving system itself communicates with the driver, will play its part too.
“As such, collaboration between Government, regulators, carmakers and the insurance industry will be essential to creating a safe system for adoption and the age of humankind interacting with autonomous technology.”
Thatcham Research is the independent voice of automotive safety, security & repair, advising motorists, insurers and vehicle manufacturers to help reduce accident frequency, severity and costs and to realise the vision of ‘Safer cars, fewer crashes’, while driving standards in vehicle security.
As well as its world leading crash and track research, Thatcham Research develops repair methods amongst a number of other products and services within the collision repair industry for insurers, motor manufacturers, equipment manufacturers and suppliers.
In addition, Thatcham Research has administered the Association of British Insurer’s (ABI) Group Rating system for the past 50 years. Group Rating is an advisory system intended to provide insurers with the relative risk of private cars and light commercial vehicles.
A founder member of the international Research Council for Automobile Repairs (RCAR), Thatcham Research has also been a member of the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP) since 2004.