LONDON (Reuters) – British Transport Minister Mark Harper has indicated that self-driving cars could become a reality on some UK roads by 2026. While cars with full self-driving capabilities are currently prohibited on British roads, the government’s Automated Vehicles (AV) legislation is in the parliamentary process, aiming to establish a legal framework for such vehicles by the end of 2024, according to Harper.
In an interview with BBC Radio, Harper stated, “Probably by as early as 2026, people will start seeing some elements of these cars that have full self-driving capabilities being rolled out. It’ll be gradual, with companies introducing it in specific locations.”
Despite critics’ concerns about the technology, citing potential crashes, Harper emphasized the potential for improved road safety. He noted that the focus of automated vehicles and self-driving technologies is on ensuring people’s safety.
The legislation announced in November outlines plans for the manufacturers, rather than the owners, of self-driving cars to be legally liable for any crashes. The government aims for the bill to protect users and enhance safety within the AV industry.