UK could benefit from £62 billion driverless boost, says report

The UK is in ‘pole position’ to benefit from a £62 billion boost to the economy from connected and autonomous vehicles by 2030, according to a newly published report.

The report – Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Winning the Global Race to Market – was published by motor industry body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) and Frost & Sullivan, and explores the benefits that increasing numbers of connected and autonomous vehicles on UK roads could bring.

“Government and industry have already invested millions to lay the foundations, and the opportunities are dramatic – new jobs, economic growth and improvements across society.”

Mike Hawes, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders

With industry and government already having committed more than £500 million to connected and autonomous vehicle R&D and testing, says the report, the next major step will be the shift to real-world deployment.

One of the key benefits identified is the improvement in road safety promised by the continuing rollout of advanced driver assistance systems in new cars in the UK, and the gradual introduction of automated vehicles. The report predicts that this technology could prevent 47,000 serious accidents and save 3,900 lives over the next decade.

At the same time, says the report, the automotive industry and related sectors such as telecoms and digital services are set to create as many as 420,000 new jobs. Motorists who drive to work also stand to regain the equivalent of a full working week as a result of greater productivity and smoother traffic flows during their commute.



“A transport revolution stands before us as we move to self-driving cars and the UK is in pole position in this £62 billion race,” said SMMT Chief Executive Mike Hawes.

“Government and industry have already invested millions to lay the foundations, and the opportunities are dramatic – new jobs, economic growth and improvements across society.”

“The UK already has the essential building blocks – forward thinking legislation, advanced technology infrastructure, a highly skilled labour force, and a tech savvy customer base – to spearhead CAV deployment over the next decade.”

Sarwant Singh, Frost & Sullivan

The report identifies three critical areas to help with the rollout of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs): supportive regulation, enabling infrastructure and an attractive market. According to the authors, the UK is ahead of global rivals in its readiness to commercialise self-driving technology, and ranks above countries including Germany, the US, Japan and South Korea as a global destination for the mass rollout of CAVs.

However, warns the report, if the UK is to succeed in realising this potential, the government must provide sustained support in a number of areas, including updating road traffic laws, improving 4G coverage across all road networks, encouraging local authorities to work with industry to implement urban mobility services and working to influence the future harmonisation of international regulations, ensuring the vehicles of the future can operate seamlessly between the UK and abroad.

“The UK already has the essential building blocks – forward thinking legislation, advanced technology infrastructure, a highly skilled labour force, and a tech savvy customer base – to spearhead CAV deployment over the next decade,” said Sarwant Singh, Senior Partner and Head of Mobility, Frost & Sullivan.

“However, it will require sustained and coordinated efforts by all key stakeholders, especially the government, to realise the significant annual economic benefits forecast for the UK from CAV deployment by 2030 and drive the vision of safe, convenient and accessible mobility for all.”

The authors also highlight the importance of an orderly UK departure from the EU, saying that a no-deal Brexit would result in “lasting damage to the UK’s reputation as a politically stable destination for inward investment”, and risk the benefits identified in the report.

“We are ahead of many rival nations but to realise these benefits we must move fast,” said Hawes.

“Brexit has undermined our global reputation for political stability and it continues to devour valuable time and investment. We need the deadlock broken with ‘no deal’ categorically ruled out and a future relationship agreed that reflects the integrated nature of our industry and delivers frictionless trade.”


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