Automated Vehicles

Current project status

  • Initiation: Could include discussing scope and terms of reference with lead Government Department
  • Pre-consultation: Could include approaching interest groups and specialists, producing scoping and issues papers, finalising terms of project
  • Consultation: Likely to include consultation events and paper, making provisional proposals for comment
  • Policy development: Will include analysis of consultation responses. Could include further issues papers and consultation on draft Bill
  • Reported: Usually recommendations for law reform but can be advice to government, scoping report or other recommendations

We are reviewing the regulatory framework for the safe deployment of automated vehicles in the UK. We have published an analysis of responses to our first consultation on safety assurance and legal liability as well as the full text responses received. We are now working on our second consultation paper on automated road passenger services.

Documents

Analysis of the responses to the preliminary consultation paper.

Summary of the analysis of the responses to the preliminary consultation paper.

Welsh language summary of the analysis of the responses to the preliminary consultation paper.

Full text responses to the preliminary consultation paper.

Automated Vehicles: a joint preliminary consultation paper.

Summary of the preliminary consultation.

Welsh language version of the preliminary summary.

The project

The Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) has asked the Law Commission of England and Wales and the Scottish Law Commission to undertake a far-reaching review of the legal framework for automated vehicles, and their use as part of public transport networks and on-demand passenger services.

By automated vehicles we refer to vehicles that are capable of driving themselves without being controlled or monitored by an individual for at least part of a journey.  We also consider issues arising at the boundary between self-driving vehicles and widely used driver assistance technologies such as cruise control.

Timeline

This is a three-year project running from 2018 to 2021 which includes three rounds of consultation:

  1. In November 2018 we launched our first three-month consultation on safety assurance and legal liability. We published an analysis of responses and interim findings in June 2019.
  2. Our second consultation paper on automated road passenger services, to be published later this year, will cover the regulation of remotely operated fleets of automated vehicles and their relationship with public transport.
  3. Our third consultation, in 2020, will draw on responses to both previous papers to formulate overarching proposals on the way forward.
  4. We will provide final recommendations in 2021.

Work so far: our preliminary consultation (November 2018 to February 2019)

We cover three key themes in our preliminary consultation. First, we consider how safety can be assured before automated vehicles are placed on the market, as well as ongoing monitoring and maintenance requirements once they are on the road. Second, we explore criminal and civil liability. Finally, we examine the need to adapt road rules for artificial intelligence.

Analysis of responses to our preliminary consultation (June 2019)

In addition to extensive input before and during consultation through meetings and conferences, we are very grateful for the 178 written responses to our preliminary consultation paper. In all, we received over 2600 pages of detailed and interesting discussion from a wide variety of consultees including individuals, transport research experts, car manufacturers and developers, safety and disability groups, insurers, the police, local government, lawyers and academics.

We include a detailed analysis of responses, as well as a summary of what consultees said, below. The central finding from our work so far relates to safety assurance: there was overwhelming support for a national safety assurance scheme for automated driving systems.

Next steps

We are working on our second consultation paper on automated road passenger services, which is due for publication later this year. We will publish our final report and deliver final recommendations in 2021.

Contact

By email to automatedvehicles@lawcommission.gov.uk or by phone: 020 3334 0200.

 

Documents and downloads

Project details

Area of law

Public law

Commissioner

Nicholas Paines QC