Automotive sector calls for passing of Automated Vehicles Bill

Autonomous cars, Car stuff, News

  • UK auto sector calls for passing of Automated Vehicles Bill to deliver economic and social benefits.
  • Technology could save an additional 3,200 lives and prevent 53,000 serious accidents by 2040, it claims
  • Stress-free and safer driving  most popular reasons to try self-driving cars according to new poll
  • Nearly a third of all adults (29%) would use an automated passenger service today, with Gen Z even keener (44%)

The automotive sector is today urging all parliamentarians to back the Automated Vehicles (AV) Bill and ensure its swift passage into law so the UK can unlock the massive safety and economic benefits of self-driving passenger cars and public transport services.

According to the SMMT (Society of Motor Manufacturers), the tech will reduce the risk of human error, saving an additional 3,200 lives and preventing 53,000 serious accidents, from now until 2040, with a £38 billion economic boost for the taking.

Even if the current timetable is met, following the Bill’s second reading in the House of Commons in early March, we are unlikely to see self-driving vehicles on British roads until at least 2026.

But should the legislation be delayed until after the general election, that date is likely to be nearer to 2030, putting the UK at a significant disadvantage, it claims. Rival markets in the EU and US already have regulatory frameworks in place and have captured the lead, deploying the tech on public roads now.

While the UK has firm foundations, thanks to government and industry jointly investing more than £600 million in self-driving vehicle trials since 2015, the risk is that the UK squanders its advantages, reckons the SMMT. 

Speaking today at SMMT Connected 2024, Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:

“Backing the AV Bill now is fundamental if Britain is to not only develop but deploy self-driving passenger cars and services. We have the foundations, but other major markets are stealing a march, with regulation already in place allowing them to benefit from UK-developed self-driving tech that cannot be rolled out here. Any further delay risks leaving Britain in the slow lane, jeopardising our competitiveness and holding back the significant safety and economic rewards self-driving technology can deliver.”

Exclusive YouGov research commissioned by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) found that nearly a third of adults (29%) would use an automated bus, shuttle or taxi service if available today, with one in four (26%) likely to try self-driving features in a personal car – even though they have yet to experience the technology.

The poll also found that young people are even keener, with Generation Z (18-27 year-olds) almost twice (34%) as likely to try a personal car with self-driving features than Baby Boomers (18%) (60-78 year-olds). 

Chris Price
For latest tech stories go to