Distant driving from abroad faces ban in England and Wales | Self-driving automobiles

The distant driving of autos from abroad, comparable to for the supply of rental automobiles, may very well be banned following a government-commissioned evaluation.

The evaluation was carried out by the Legislation Fee of England and Wales, which beneficial ministers regulate the know-how.

It’s at the moment used solely in managed environments, comparable to farms and warehouses, however future purposes may search to increase its use within the UK to the supply of rental automobiles.

The know-how permits for autos to be managed remotely, probably in public areas. There’s at the moment no UK legislation for a driver to be within the car they’re controlling.

The fee mentioned “difficulties in enforcement” meant distant driving from abroad ought to be prohibited “till acceptable worldwide agreements are in place”.

It informed ministers that distant driving in public ought to be allowed provided that corporations obtained particular permissions.

The evaluation additionally said {that a} distant driver ought to be liable for their actions in the identical approach as somebody sitting behind the wheel of a car, however there ought to be no legal responsibility for faults past their management, comparable to connectivity failures.

Nicholas Paines KC, the general public legislation commissioner, mentioned: “Distant driving is an thrilling know-how, however earlier than we see remotely operated automobiles on UK roads we should handle security issues by way of robust regulation.

“Our recommendation concludes that within the instant time period, the federal government would be capable of handle some gaps within the legislation round distant driving utilizing current powers, whereas additionally offering a path for corporations to make use of the know-how lawfully supplied that their techniques are protected.

“In the long run, it may arrange a full system of distant driving regulation. Laws should reply to different elementary issues round safety threats and legal responsibility within the occasion of an accident.

“Our recommendation paper units out a highway map for a way the federal government can handle these issues, while additionally encouraging corporations to innovate.”

The transport minister Jesse Norman mentioned: “Distant driving is already being efficiently used off-road in a number of industries and has big potential to supply new providers and security options for highway autos.

“The federal government wants to make sure that security is on the forefront of the usage of any new know-how, and the division will fastidiously think about the Legislation Fee’s suggestions.”

Final 12 months, the fee additionally beneficial that customers of self-driving automobiles ought to have immunity from a variety of motoring offences, together with harmful driving, rushing and leaping pink lights.

The headline of this text was amended on 20 February 2023 as a result of it incorrectly referred to “self-driving autos”. Because the textual content of the article made clear the evaluation referred to distant driving.

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