CEO Update

Why regulation is key to keeping UK’s self-driving revolution in the fast lane

03 November 2023 #CEO Update

Automotive is no stranger to technological revolution and it’s about to embark on yet another with the rollout of connected and automated mobility (CAM) technology. An SMMT published report out this week, summarising a study by KPMG and funded by Innovate UK with support from the Automotive Council and Zenzic, sets out the scale of opportunity before us. It reveals that we are now in a strong position to transform the very way people in Britain travel, across all modes of transportation from self-driving cars to automated taxis and HGVs.

Equipping vehicles with CAM technology could deliver extensive socio-economic benefits for the UK – a £66 billion annual economic uplift, 3,900 lives saved, 60,000 serious accidents prevented and 342,000 additional jobs created across the economy, with 12,250 in automotive manufacturing, all by 2040.

The UK is already well placed to introduce this technology into passenger cars, but there is still more to be done to unlock opportunities in other parts of the industry, notably on-road logistics, passenger services, off-road logistics and the mining and agricultural sectors. On-road logistics alone has the potential to be the largest market, with a potential revenue of £15.2 billion per year by 2040. Delivering the significant benefits of safe and responsible CAM tech adoption is now highly dependent on fast paced government action.

This means enacting relevant regulatory and legislative reforms, with the need to table new legislation on self-driving vehicles before the end of this Parliament – something we hope to see in the upcoming King’s speech. All barriers to regulatory reform must be removed and combined with an ambitious strategy to support private sector investment. There must also be a focus on innovation-driven growth, equipping workers with essential digital and software skills through upskilling and reskilling initiatives and engaging the public through comprehensive education and communication programmes. Failing to act risks leaving the UK in the slow lane – jeopardising our competitiveness on the global stage.

Given the potential for introducing CAM tech in the on-road logistics industry, it is aptly timed that the CV show, Britain’s biggest expo for commercial vehicles, has launched for 2024. Returning to the NEC Birmingham from 23-25 April, the event will benefit from the addition of an all-new conference focused on key business-critical themes – decarbonisation, technical, people and skills.

More than 300 exhibitors are expected to present the latest vehicles and technology to around 12,000 operators, and the event will provide an unmissable opportunity to gain critical knowledge and insight into the products that will help businesses meet their net zero goals. There are still exhibitor spaces available, but they are filling up quickly – so don’t miss your opportunity to showcase your products to industry decision makers and buyers, find out more here.

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