An open letter – Self-drive is stalling

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SIR – Britain is ranked second in the G7 for self-driving and connected (or “talking”) vehicles in a report by KPMG.

This is largely as a result of the £400 million invested by the Government and industry over the past four years, and Britain’s forward‑thinking regulatory environment. The Government has put the future of mobility at the heart of industrial strategy, but we are at a critical juncture. We must continue to invest to remain a world leader.

Radical new technologies are emerging that, within a generation, will transform everyday journeys, but without meaningful Government intervention they will be developed elsewhere.

Britain would be overtaken and will have failed to commercialise early research leadership, losing out on benefits to the economy and critical transport infrastructure.

The mobility revolution has the potential to improve dramatically regional transport networks as well as urban centres, and to provide a lifeline to our ageing society.

With investment today, connected vehicles could make journeys more efficient and help achieve the net-zero greenhouse-gas emissions goal by the end of this year.

With self-driving services available to consumers in the UK as soon as 2021 (self-driving buses are set to serve up to 10,000 passengers a week across the Forth Road Bridge), all road users will benefit from improvements in safety, productivity and access to transport. Advances in autonomous freight will also reduce emissions and congestion while improving safety.

For many years, Britain has led the way in connected and automated mobility. Any slowing of investment now will lead to Britain importing this technology and adopting foreign regulation, becoming a tech-taker rather than a tech-maker.

Mark Preston Founder, StreetDrone

Paul McCabe Director of Corporate Development and Innovation, Addison Lee
Professor David Keene CEO, Aurrigo
Bryn Balcombe Founder, Autonomous Drivers Alliance
Claudio Gienal CEO, AXA UK and Ireland
Arun Srinivasan EVP and Head of Mobility Solutions, Bosch UK
Mary Williams CEO, Brake
Dr Michiel van Ratingen Secretary General, Euro NCAP
Elizabeth de Jong Director of Policy, Freight Transport Association
Lucy McCormick Professor Natasha Merat Chair in Human Factors of Transport Systems, Institute For Transport Studies, University of Leeds
Professor John A McDermid Director, Lloyd’s Register Foundation
Alex Burns President, Millbrook
Paul Clarke CTO, Ocado
Ozgur Tohumcu CEO, Oxbotica
Professor Nick Reed Founder, Reed Mobility
Jonathan Hewett Chief Executive, Thatcham Research
Brendan O’Reilly CTO, Telefónica UK
Paul Campion CEO, TRL
Sobhan Khani Vice President, Mobility, Plug and Play Technology Center
Kieran Borrett Plug and Play UK

View the original letter on the Telegraph website (paywall)

For more information on StreetDrone’s work in self-driving or for further comment please contact

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