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The University of Southampton
Autonomous Systems

Could driverless vehicles prevent up to 95% of all traffic accidents?

Published: 18 March 2016
driverless simulator
It would take at least 20 years to reach the point where we have driverless vehicles on the roads

A report published by the Institution of Mechanical Engineers strongly recommends that government and industry encourage greater use of autonomous and driverless vehicles.

The report urges government and industry to take steps to expedite the integration of driverless vehicles into the current transport system. It argues that as 95% of all accidents are due to human error, adopting driverless vehicle technolgy would save as much as £51 billion per year by reducing accidents and saving lives. Insurance and regulatory issues which are currently barriers to progress in this area must be adressed.

Its three main recommendations are:-

  1. The Transport Systems Catapult conduct a public consultation, bringing together a working group that includes industry, legislators, regulators and members of the general public. This group should look at how we can integrate and implement new regulatory regimes.
  2. All car dealerships and garages must work with vehicle manufacturers to ensure that they can provide adequate information, and give the required training, to any new purchaser of a vehicle.
  3. The Department for Transport needs to address the safety issues of mixed road use, looking at how autonomous vehicles can be integrated onto our road network with appropriate road signage and markings in place or updated.

Read the full report

We need to urgently resolve legislative, technological and insurance issues to help encourage the rollout of autonomous or driverless vehicles. The benefits to this sort of technology are huge, with estimates that the overall UK economic benefit could be as much as £51 billion a year due to fewer accidents, improved productivity and increased trade.

Philippa Oldham - Lead author of the report
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