Lords committee continues driverless vehicles inquiry

Black and silver microphone

As it continues its inquiry into the future uses of autonomous vehicles, the UK's House of Lords Science and Technology Committee has announced the next set of witnesses to be called to give oral evidence. 

The session will provide an opportunity for the committee to hear from representatives of the three driverless car trials taking place in Greenwich, Bristol and Milton Keynes.

During its second evidence session, to be held on 8 November, the committee will hear from the following witnesses:

  • Claire Depré, Head of Sustainable and Intelligent Transport Unit, DG MOVE, European Commission
  • Dr Hermann Meyer, Chief Executive Officer, ERTICO – ITS Europe (Intelligent Transport Systems)
  • Mike Hawes, Chief Executive Officer, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT)
  • Professor Nick Reed, Academy Director at TRL, on behalf of GATEway (Greenwich Automated Transport Environment)
  • John McCarthy, Technical Director at Atkins' Intelligent Mobility, on behalf of the Bristol driverless cars project
  • Brian Matthews, Head of Transport Innovation, Milton Keynes Council

Committee members will explore the progress being made by the driverless vehicle trials and look at any issues raised relating to the deployment and regulation of driverless cars, as well as social and behavioural issues.

As countries around the world prepare for the advent of self-driving cars, the committee will also consider the longer-term international regulation likely to be required for driverless vehicles.

In particular, it will examine the extent to which the UK will have to align itself with future international regulations in areas such as cyber-security and data handling, while also assessing what progress has been made with autonomous vehicle regulations both globally and at a European level.

During the first part of the session – questioning the European Commission, ITS Europe and SMMT representatives – the committee is likely to ask about the following areas:

  • What European organisations can deliver that individual Member States or organisations cannot deliver on their own
  • How it is possible to avoid each European country having their own individual approach to cybersecurity and privacy requirements for highly autonomous vehicles
  • To what extent the UK can devise its own regulations and standards for driverless vehicles.

As it hears from representatives of the UK's driverless car trials, the committee is likely to explore what modelling has taken place of the deployment of self-driving cars on a mixed network made up of non-highly and fully-automated vehicles.

Members will also want to ascertain whether or not there will need to be significant new infrastructure investment in order for autonomous vehicles to operate safely, efficiently and effectively in the UK. 

As it explores the implications of deploying driverless vehicles on the UK's roads, the committee heard evidence from a number of government officials and academic experts earlier this week. Uncorrected transcripts of these evidence sessions are now available on the committee's website here and here.

The committee is due to hold a further oral evidence session on Tuesday 15 November.