At 11:25 on the 7th November, the UK CAM industry tuned in to watch the first King’s Speech in 70 years, and to hear the announcement of the long awaited 2023 Automated Vehicles Bill, promising to bring a number of legislative updates that have long been seen by industry to be the biggest enabler to unlocking the potential of CAM in the UK.  

Mark Cracknell, Zenzic’s Programme Director, shares his thoughts:  

“In our work in over the last 5 years, industry has recognised that the biggest enabler to unlock safe, secure and successful CAM is fit for purpose legislation and regulation. We are excited to hear today in the King’s Speech that UK Government (lead by CCAV) has announced the 2023 Automated Vehicles Bill which will continue to put the UK at the forefront of innovation and deployment of CAM.” 

CAM’s potential in the King’s Speech 

The detail behind the King’s Speech recognised the high potential of the sector and the huge value that CAM can bring to the UK economy, referencing a UK market up to £66 billion with 38,000 new skilled jobs by 2035.  

Importantly, there is also reference to the opportunity to make transport safer, citing 88 per cent of accidents currently involving human error. The proposed Automated Vehicles Bill promises to implement the recommendations of the review carried out by the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission.  

To create a fit-for-purpose safety framework for self-driving vehicles, the bill promises to: 

  • Set the threshold for self-driving vehicles in law 
  • The Department for Transport (DfT) and associated agencies will be given new powers to classify and authorise self-driving vehicles for use on UK roads. The DfT will also be tasked with ensuring in-use compliance with future safety standards. 
  • Create safety requirements for companies deploying self-driving vehicles 
  • Companies can face sanctions and penalties for non-compliance with safety requirements, including fines, suspensions and criminal offences. 
  • Define investigative processes for incidents involving self-driving vehicles 
  • These are intended to ensure lessons are learned and fed back into UK safety framework. 
  • Digitalise Traffic Regulation Orders (TROs) in England 
  • Local authorities will be required to send legal orders (including speed limits, road closures and parking bay designations) to a central publication platform. This information will be used to create a digital map of the road network to improve operational safety in self-driving vehicles. 

The bill will also clarify legal liabilities for self-driving vehicles and provide protection for consumers in the following ways: 

  • Establish new organisations to ensure ongoing safety of self-driving vehicles 
  • Organisations will be established under the remit of the DfT to manage the ongoing use of self-driving vehicles. After authorisation, companies will have ongoing obligations to keep their vehicles in line with British laws and safety standards. Companies will have to report certain safety data to the authorisation authority and the in-use regulator.  
  • Protection for users from held unfairly accountable 
  • The bill would protect individuals from prosecution in incidents where the self-driving vehicles is driving itself. It defines non-driving responsibilities that still sit with the user such as maintaining insurance. 
  • Protecting consumers from misleading marketing 
  • The bill prohibits misleading marketing, ensuring that vehicles can only be marketed as self-driving where they have met the defined safety threshold. 

CAM Testbed UK on the King’s Speech 

CAM Testbed UK’s Independent Chair, Jonathan Eaton responds: 
“We are delighted to hear through the King’s Speech that the UK Government is intending to introduce new legislation that will accelerate the adoption of Connected Automated Mobility (CAM) in the United Kingdom. 
This important piece of legislation will have a significant impact on our CAM technology supply chain, and future investment in the UK CAM innovation space. 
As we continue to expand and grow our CAM ecosystem, capabilities and membership in CAM Testbed UK, this announcement places the United Kingdom as the leading country to develop and test CAM technology.” 

We send our thanks to the team at Centre for Connected and Automated Vehicles (CCAV) for their hard work to ensure the inclusion of CAM in the King’s Speech.  

As we anticipate the evolution of the UK CAM industry, we’re committed to playing an central role in shaping its future.  

With the 2023 Automated Vehicles Bill poised to bring in an era of unparalleled innovation and safety, our journey in the CAM ecosystem continues to be an exciting one.  

 If you would like to get in touch to discuss any of the above,  just get in touch.