Driverless cars are the most revolutionary thing to happen to motoring in a long time. The Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) recently commissioned KPMG, a professional advisory services company to undertake research for them. SMMT wanted to gain information on the impact of driverless cars in the UK. The findings of the research entitled Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: The UK Economic Opportunity were unveiled by the society at their recent SMMTConnected Exhibition in London. KPMG claim that their report is the “first authoritative forecast of the impact of connected and driverless car technology on the UK economy”.
So what did we learn from the survey?
The results were not that surprising in some respects. Driverless or autonomous cars would significantly reduce the number of road accidents as human error would no longer be a cause of accidents. The report predicted that car crashes could be cut by 25,000 before 2030. That would be a really significant benefit for the future of motoring.
Other benefits revealed the technology in these cars is linked to a central system which would help to relieve traffic congestion in urban and busy areas. Decreased congestion and CO2 emissions and improved vehicle efficiency are also listed as future benefits.
The report estimates that driverless cars could boost the UK’s economy by £50 billion and create more than 300,000 new jobs. KPMG state that most of these jobs are expected to be in the Midlands. The RDM Group are already working on their ‘Lutz Pod’ cars at their base in Coventry. Prototype driverless cars are also being trialled in Milton Keynes, Greenwich in London and Bristol.
Other predictions in the report include one in four vehicles on the road in the UK will be completely autonomous by 2030 and all new vehicles will be equipped with some form of connectivity by this time as well. The government has demonstrated their commitment by providing £200 million government and industry investment into the research, development and demonstration of driverless cars in the UK. The Department of Transport has enabled the cars to be tested on public roads in the spring and summer this year so we will start to see them any day now.