Responsible Innovation in Self-Driving Vehicles
19 August 2022
Self-driving vehicles have the potential to radically transform the UK’s roads. They offer the opportunity to deliver significant improvements to road safety and efficiency by reducing driver error, can improve accessibility by enhancing mobility for people unable to drive, and have the potential to reduce emissions. There is also a significant economic opportunity: the automotive and digital sectors are already important contributors to the UK economy and self-driving vehicles could grow this considerably. Recent research commissioned by the Department for Transport has shown that by 2035, the UK connected and automated vehicles market could be worth £41.7 billion. Building on the recent proposals set out by the Law Commissions, this report provides a comprehensive view of how these proposals can be supported by a responsible and trustworthy regulatory and assurance framework. This report takes a broad view of the factors that are crucial to deliver public trust: safety, data privacy, and fairness. We also look at the areas that will be important enablers to responsible innovation: facilitating sufficient explainability to ensure accountability, data sharing, promoting public trust, and effective governance. These recommendations aim to ensure a fair, trustworthy and proportionate approach to the regulation and governance of self-driving vehicles to build public trust and confidence in their use, which in turn will drive adoption and innovation. They have been shaped by the expert contributions of Professor John McDermid and Professor Jack Stilgoe and through engagement with key stakeholders, including the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV), the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission, the Information Commissioner’s Office, members of the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation Advisory Board, Home Office, the Office of the Biometrics and Surveillance Camera Commissioner, the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency, and the Vehicle Certification Agency.