New laws introduced into the UK will mean that from next month drivers will be able to use remote control parking on British roads.
Changes to the Highway Code and relevant regulations were consulted on earlier this year and received what the Government calls “overwhelming support” from a range of groups including manufacturers, insurance groups and haulage companies.
“Developments like remote control parking and motorway assist have the potential to transform car travel for those with mobility challenges, unlocking tight parking spaces and using computers to help driver accuracy on the road,” a statement reads. “Not only that, but technology has the potential to make driving more energy efficient meaning cheaper, cleaner journeys, with improved air quality for both drivers and pedestrians. The updates will provide clarity for motorists about how the technologies can be used, and allow the increased use of features like cruise control, providing significant advantages for drivers.”
The statement continues, “With gadgets like these already available on some vehicle models, the updates see the law moulding to the modern driving world, making sure drivers are ready to use their new technology safely and ensuring the law is flexible for future breakthroughs.”
Jesse Norman, Transport Minister said, “Advanced driver assistance systems are already starting to revolutionise driving.
It’s encouraging to see the strong support for these innovations from a range of stakeholders. We will continue to review our driving laws, in order to ensure drivers can enjoy the potential of these new tools safely. The changes are part of a package of work to ensure UK road laws are fit to support automated driving technology as they develop and provide clarity on new use cases.”
The government also recently tasked the Law Commission with a detailed review of driving laws, along with planned updates to the code of practice to ensure that as technology develops the UK “remains one of the best places in the world to develop, test and drive self-driving vehicles”.
It adds that this builds on previous consultations on automated driving, and also the recently published Industrial Strategy, which designated the future of mobility as one of the four “grand challenges”. It says this strategy, along with changes to the regulatory framework, “will help realise the government’s desire to see fully self-driving cars on the UK roads by 2021″.
Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive added, “Connected and autonomous vehicles will transform our lives, with the potential to reduce up to 25,000 serious accidents and create more than 300,000 jobs over the next decade.
“Today’s announcement is just one step towards increasing automation but it is an important one enabling increased convenience especially for those with restricted mobility. It is another welcome commitment from government to keep the UK firmly at the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle development and rollout.”
Reacting to the news, RAC spokesman Rod Dennis said, “This is welcome news. With the pace of technological change in the automotive sector being so rapid, it is important that the law and the Highway Code keeps up so that motorists can really benefit from new technologies like remote control parking.
“However it is also vital that nothing is done that encourages drivers to activate any of this sort of technology from a phone while inside their vehicle – the driving seat is no place for using something as distracting as a handheld mobile phone.
“And for drivers used to parking in Britain’s congested cities, remote control parking is unlikely to unlock the tightest of parking spaces – meaning the skill of being able to do a good parallel park will still be as valuable as ever.”