On May 20th 2024, a landmark piece of legislation received Royal Ascent – the Automated Vehicles Act. 

Over four years in the making but through the sustained efforts of the CCAV team with support from others the bill has passed through the parliamentary process at a considerable pace, given it was only in November 2023 as part of the King’s speech. 

The AVBill was a key talking point at this year’s CAM Innovators’ Day, the focus of Isobel Pastor, CCAVs keynote and a panel section chaired by Francis McKinney, Zenzic. The panel featured contributions from George Ivanov, Waymo, Sarah Gates, Wayve, Elliot Hemes, IPG Automotive, and Mark Collins, TfWM. The speedy progress with the AV Bill was celebrated by Margot James, MJi Insights, as the final talk of the event. 

The full details of the bill including progress through parliament and amendments can be accessed on the UK Parliament website: Automated Vehicles Bill – Parliamentary Bills – UK Parliament

The Automated Vehicles Act 2024 will provide greater clarity over roles and responsibilities for the safety of automated vehicles on UK roads. 

The bill briefly comprises: 

  • A ‘self-driving test’ for a vehicle, encompassing required safety and legality standards. 
  • A definition of the company that takes responsibility for how the vehicle drives: the Authorised Self Driving Entity (ASDE) 
  • A recognition and definition of the role of the operator-the No User-In-Charge Operator (NuiC) 
  • In-use regulation obligations and powers to check how well automated vehicles perform in practice and ensure they remain safe over time. 
  • Automated vehicle passenger permits as an alternative to traditional private hire, taxi and bus licensing, with specific consideration of accessibility. 
  • Offences if companies mislead regulators about their safety capabilities, with an aggravated offence if it leads to death or serious injury. 
  • Misleading marketing offences to safeguard the public from misleading AV claims and ambiguity over vehicle capabilities. 
  • Incident investigation powers to ensure continuous learning and improvements. 

The Act is more comprehensive in its provision than any other to date and helps to position the UK as a world leader in regulating AV technology. 

“Although this marks the end of this part of journey it marks the start of the next important stage to build on the mandate from the bill to develop robust secondary legislation that will underpin the provisions in the bill” said Francis McKinney, Head of Technology & Insights at Zenzic. “In our view this can only be achieved through collaboration with a wide range of industry and public partners. Consultation across a broad range of stakeholders is critical to ensure that all voices are heard, and the resulting regulations are world leading.” 

If you would like to discuss any of the above, please get in touch with a member of the team by emailing info@zenzic.io