UK Transport Secretary reiterates commitment to driverless cars

On 3 October, the UK Transport Secretary, Chris Grayling MP, delivered a speech to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham in which he reinforced the Government's commitment to making the UK a leading destination for autonomous car technologies.

Delivered during the first party conference season since the UK voted for Brexit in June, Grayling's speech set out the Government's transport priorities, including the need to build additional airport capacity and "signal to the world that Britain is open for business".

He also reinforced the importance of driverless cars to the UK's transport sector, noting the particular benefits they would bring for elderly and disabled passengers.

"There's a revolution on the way," said Grayling. "Technology is going to change the way we travel.

"I recently had my first experience of a driverless vehicle. Believe me, it's an unusual sensation.

"But it's our future. And what a difference it will make to all of us. Particularly the elderly or disabled. It can transform their lives almost more than anyone's."

The driverless revolution would mean better use of the country's roads, more reliable journeys and safer motoring, he added.

The Government's Modern Transport Bill, due to be published in early 2017, would help pave the way for the UK to build and use driverless technology, said Grayling.

The Bill, announced in the Queen's Speech in May, aims to put the UK at the forefront of autonomous and driverless vehicle ownership and use.

In a direct appeal to self-driving car-makers to invest in the UK, Grayling concluded: "To the Motor manufacturers I say "Come to the UK. Develop your technology here. We have the most skilled and knowledgeable workforce in the world. Britain is open and the Government will support you"."