The ‘world’s first’ roadmap to getting driverless cars onto public highways has been unveiled by a government and industry partnership.
Originally named Meridian, Zenzic was created to focus on key areas of UK capability in the global connected and self-driving vehicle sector with industry and government membership and support.
Its UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030 is written to show the connections, cross-sector interdependencies and collaboration required to get self-driving vehicles onto Britain’s roads in significant numbers by 2030. The roadmap is based on four key themes: society and people, vehicles, infrastructure, and services.
It also identifies six ‘golden threads’ that show areas dependent on cross-industry collaboration and parallel developments to achieve the goal of self-driving services being accessible to the public by 2030.
Future of transport minister George Freeman said: ‘Zenzic’s roadmap is a fantastic example of the public and private sector working together to shape the future of connected and self-driving technologies – and demonstrate the UK as a world leading test-bed in 21stC Mobility.’
Andrew Hugill, the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation’s policy and technical affairs director said: ‘CIHT has been clear the continued development of connected and autonomous vehicles has the potential to significantly improve road safety, reduce congestion and enhance the experience of car users and drivers.
‘The roadmap pulls together all the activities in a way that hasn’t been seen before and will enable wider understanding and importantly, proper consideration of the challenges and hurdles to be overcome for the successful implementation and effective use by the wider population.’
Key insights from the roadmap include: Collaboration is the key – If all the activity in the roadmap was scheduled sequentially with no parallel efforts, it would take until 2079 for the UK to benefit from self-driving vehicles on the roads. The unique and deliberate co-operation between industry, academia and government in the UK is the key to achieving the benefits.
Legislation and regulation changes are critical – Of the 500+ milestones in the roadmap, regulations, standards and legislation are the most critical enablers for the development, trialling and deployment of self-driving technologies and services. These include a consistent framework for the approval and licensing of self-driving vehicles, agreed safety standards, and the creation of a digital ‘Highway Code’.
Safety is a priority and vital for public acceptance – The number one factor in achieving public acceptability is a clear and transparent approach to safety.
Societal outcomes must be at the centre of our planning – To date, a vehicle-centric focus has been adopted to progress self-driving technology. By thinking today about how technology and services will benefit society at large in 2030, the UK is better placed to unlock the full value of autnomous vehicles. Through the sharing of data, self-driving vehicles will contribute to more efficient use of our roads, improve safety and offer more inclusive transport options to more people.
Cyber security is a major UK competitive advantage – With the UK at the forefront of cyber security technology, and half of the roadmap dependent on it, the country has an opportunity to leverage our homegrown solutions
2025 will mark the tipping point – The roadmap predicts 2025 will be the exciting moment the UK switches gears from trial and development of the technology to the scaling up of its deployment.
The key golden threads identified by Zenzic for the launch are: Legislation and regulation – A key deliverable for this thread is the establishment of a UK-wide approval process for high volumes of self-driving vehicles
Safety – The biggest contributors to safety come from the necessary legal and regulatory changes, another core component will be the sharing of safety critical data vehicle-to-vehicle.
CAM Services – The development of personal mobility, freight and logistics services and inclusive transport, requiring a public education programme, business models and a UK-wide licencing framework.
Public acceptability – The development of self-driving vehicles will be meaningless if society does not want to use them.
Infrastructure – One of the most urgent issues. Within the next two years, cities and regions in the UK must start to create blueprints of how to adapt and integrate future autonomous technologies and services.
Cyber Resilience – This has the most milestones associated with it (291). The UK’s cyber expertise will be used to inform global best practice. For example, a goal must be to focus on resilience in the event of a cyber failure or threat rather than trying to build an unbreakable system.
Asked whether there is a business case for the technology, David Skipp from the UK Automotive Council said, ‘The business case isn’t yet proven, but it should come from the commercial sector where the business case sits at the top of the priorities. The roadmap brings a way for trials to come to roads with the right legal and insurance permissions and each time you do a trial you are getting another use case, so having a progressive road map helps us start to prove the business cases.
‘Productivity will be the key and are we willing to invest in the potential safety benefits? We spend a lot of money on the infrastructure side on making roads and mobility safer and this could be spent on the business case. Zenzic CEO Daniel Ruiz (pictured) said: ‘I am very proud of the intense and highly collaborative effort by many individuals and organisations that has resulted in this first release of the UK Connected and Automated Mobility Roadmap to 2030.
‘We are in a period of dramatic social and economic change. Transport is fundamental to the change as it delivers ‘mobility’; and mobility itself will soon be transformed by the new technologies associated with connectivity and automation, including “self-driving”.’