Remote driving

Project status: The consultation period is now closed.

The response period for this project recently closed. The team will now move onto analysing the responses. We propose to publish our advice regarding reform options for remote driving to Government in early 2023.

Documents

Summary of remote driving issues paper

Remote driving issues paper

View the press release here

Background of the project

The UK Government’s Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and the International Vehicle Standards team at the Department for Transport asked the Law Commission to clarify the current legal status of remote driving and consider whether reforms are needed.

It builds on work the Law Commission has undertaken in the field of automated vehicles (AV) since 2018. Its joint report with the Scottish Law Commission published in January 2022 contains recommendations for UK government to make changes to legislation to enable the deployment of automated vehicles on British roads. For further information, visit the AV project page.

Summary of the project

Technology that enables an individual to drive a vehicle from a remote location already exists. It is commonly used in controlled environments such as warehouses, farms and mines. Remote driving leads to many safety challenges. For example:

  • Connectivity: how can a reliable connection between the remote driver and vehicle be ensured and how can safety risks be mitigated if connectivity is lost?
  • Situational awareness: how can drivers remain aware of their surroundings through a screen without (for example) the “feel” of acceleration?
  • Keeping remote drivers alert: how can the risk of fatigue, motion sickness and distraction be overcome?
  • Cybersecurity: how can unauthorised takeover of vehicles be prevented?

On 24 June 2022, we published an issues paper asking for views on the need and options for regulating remote driving on public roads. The paper considers how the existing legal framework applies to remote driving on roads shared with other road users. It focuses on remote driving where the driver does not have full line of sight and may be in a remote operations centre many miles from the vehicle.

Next steps

The consultation period for this project closed in early September. We propose to publish our advice regarding reform options for remote driving to UK Government in early 2023.

Contact

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

Documents and downloads

Project details

Area of law

Public law

Commissioner

Nicholas Paines KC