Autonomouscar trials under way in UK

Autonomous-car trials under way in U.K.

Study Says Autonomous, Connected Cars to Enrich U.K.

The report forecasts that by 2030, every new car will have some form of connectivity, while more than a quarter will be fully autonomous, preventing more than 25,000 serious accidents and saving thousands of lives.

The development of connected and autonomous vehicles will help generate 320,000 jobs in the U.K. in the next 15 years, delivering huge benefits to society and the economy.

That’s the finding of a comprehensive analysis of U.K. opportunities provided by the new technology by audit and advisory company KPMG, which says these new vehicles will deliver a £51 billion ($75.5 billion) boost to the region’s economy by 2030.

It also forecasts the U.K. will be a global leader in the production of this next generation of vehicles.

The figures are released at SMMTConnected, the first-ever industrywide event in Britain to explore the opportunities and challenges ahead and demonstrate how the UK automotive sector is already developing the cars of the future.

The event was attended by 20 automakers from across the U.K. and more than 300 representatives from insurance providers, telecoms, academics, local government and software providers.

Experts from BMW, Bosch, Ford, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Volvo detail their efforts to develop intelligent vehicles and outline how society can benefit from this latest technology.

The KPMG report analyzes how the journey to full connectivity will transform Britain – expanding its industrial base, improving safety, congestion, efficiency and tailpipe emissions, driving up productivity and liberating space usually devoted to vehicles in urban areas.

It forecasts that by 2030, every new car will have some form of connectivity, while more than a quarter will be fully autonomous, preventing more than 25,000 serious accidents and saving thousands of lives.

About 770,000 people work in the U.K. automotive sector, with more than 20% directly employed in manufacturing, the report says, projecting the connected-car era will see the industry employing more than 1 million people.

John Leech, U.K. head of automotive-KPMG, says the study shows the region is well-positioned to capitalize on the development and production of connected and autonomous cars.

“Not only will these developments help vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers, but they will bolster jobs, trade and productivity across the economy,” he says.

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill says new technology is fundamental to the government’s ambitious vision for U.K. roads.

“That is why we are making huge investments to support innovation, including £19 million ($28.1 million) for real-world trials of driverless cars and £100 million ($148 million) to research autonomous vehicles,” he tells the meeting.

The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders says the U.K. has a unique opportunity to lead the way in developing the connected and driverless cars of tomorrow: a 2-year head start on other European countries, not having ratified the Vienna convention some decades ago.

This means on-road driverless car trials can take place without the need for primary legislation. Such trials already are under way in four British cities this year.

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