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MPs unprepared for driverless future

By Kyle Linsay
Monday, January 19, 2015 - 15:00

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MPs are failing to grasp the impact of modern vehicle technology

Yet to grasp the impact of modern vehicle technology on the motor industry says IMI.

A Dods Polling survey into MPs attitudes to driverless cars revealed a “general lack of knowledge amongst our legislators on the impact of autonomous vehicles.” which could prove to impede UK innovations and legislation in the field.

The survey showed that almost half of MPs questioned were against further investment in autonomous vehicle research, despite the government announcing plans to have driverless cars being trialed on UK roads this year, while a sizeable 51% were unsure of the impact that autonomous vehicles would have on the insurance industry and 42% remained unsure of the impact autonomous vehicles would have on road safety.

Commenting on the findings, IMI CEO Steve Nash commented:
“Even a cursory glance at the latest technology news shows a great deal of investment going into driverless vehicles. High profile companies including the likes of Jaguar Land Rover, Ford, Google, Nissan and even NASA are all now engaged. This technology is not going away. Even if we don’t see fully autonomous vehicles on sale in the next few years, the advancement in technology will have a huge impact on normal vehicles.”

Needless to say, MP’s are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel and need to start paying closer attention to the implications of these changes – both in terms of legislative issues and the large skills gaps it will create in the automotive workforce who maintain cars.

The government introduced plans last year to prepare legislation and infrastructure which would allow driverless cars to be tested on UK roads in 2015, with a number of large companies already signed up to lead the research.

“The development of these vehicles has huge implications for repairers, which we do not believe MPs fully understand. Driver assist systems are already available on almost all modern cars and require specialist knowledge to maintain. However, we are still in a situation where literally anyone can set themselves up to work on these vehicles. The stakes will be infinitely higher if totally autonomous vehicles are introduced.”

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