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UK self-driving car: new law allows autonomous vehicles by 2026

Posted on 03/07/24 |

A new bill became law on May 20th, named the Automated Vehicles Act, it will enable the introduction of fully-autonomous vehicles to UK roads within the next two years, provided they “achieve a level of safety at least as high as careful and competent human drivers”.

Yet, while these self-driving vehicles will still need a person to give inputs on occasion, the new law states that drivers will not be held responsible for how their vehicle acts when it is operating in its autonomous settings.  Instead, the government says the legal culpability will be placed firmly on the manufacturer, as well as the insurance company that covers the car, with the driver not deemed a ‘driver’ per se, but a ‘user-in-charge’.

Reacting to the act reaching Royal Assent, Transport Secretary Mark Harper said: “Britain stands at the threshold of an automotive revolution, and this new law is a milestone moment for our self-driving industry which has the potential to change the way we travel forever.”