UK motor industry wants more support for driverless car tech

The Institute of the Motor Industry (IMI) is urging motoring firms to realise the potential of driverless cars, as the government plans to update the Highway Code to reflect new on-the-road technologies.

The IMI believes car firms don't yet have the necessary skills and infrastructure to deal with driverless vehicles, yet the government's study includes tweaks to current policies to address greater precision provided by automated vehicles and the the reduction of insurance premiums to account for the reduced possibility of accidents.

IMI's CEO Steve Nash said: "The review is a statement of intent by the government, who are forging ahead with bringing driverless cars to UK roads in 2015. Burying your head in the sand will not work if you wish to continue operating effectively in the modern service and repair industry.

"Businesses must begin investing in training on the latest vehicle technologies in order to meet future demands. Even if driverless cars do not become common, their development will accelerate the inclusion of driver aid and driver safety systems on modern vehicles, raising the skills requirement to work on them."

However, Nash said MPs are still divided in their view of driverless cars, with some proclaiming they shouldn't be introduced on the roads and others thinking it's a technology the UK should be spearheading.

A survey by the IMI back in January exposed these levels of uncertainty, with more than half of UK MPs against further research into driverless cars because of the implications they pose for the insurance industry.

"This technology is not going away. Even if we don't see fully autonomous vehicles on sale in the next few years, the advancement in technology will have a huge impact on normal vehicles," Nash said at the time.

"MPs are in danger of falling asleep at the wheel and need to start paying closer attention to the implications of these changes; both in terms of legislative issues and the large skills gaps it will create in the automotive workforce who maintain cars."

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.