Encourage motorists to purchase driverless cars – MP
RELUCTANT motorists should be encouraged to buy selfdriving cars, according to an MP.
Solihull MP Julian Knight said cars which drive themselves, also known as autonomous vehicles, could dramatically cut the number of accidents on the roads.
But he told Government Ministers that motorists might “stick with what is comfortable and familiar” unless they were encouraged to switch.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he also said motorists could be reluctant to embrace new technology because they were previously encouraged to buy diesel cars – only to be told years later that diesel vehicles cause pollution and would be subject to new taxes.
He said: “I must emphasise how important it is that the public mood is prepared for self- driving cars.
“As chairman of the all- party group on fair fuel for motorists and hauliers, I have seen how millions of motorists bought diesel cars with the very best of intentions, urged on by politicians, only to face the potential for punitive taxes as official winds now blow in a new direction.
“I well understand why the public would be sceptical of politicians lauding a new game- changing technology, but we need to emphasise the huge potential to save thousands of lives by cutting the number of human error car accidents on our roads each year.”
The MP added: “We will fulfil that potential, though, only if automated vehicles are taken up widely.
“We all know how easy it can be to stick with what is comfortable and familiar.”
He welcomed the Government’s Automated and Electric Vehicles Bill, which will change the law to make it easier for self- driving vehicles to be used on the nation’s roads.
But he added: “If public opinion does not keep pace with technology, the visions contained in the Bill will not go as far as they should.”
Dudley MP Mike Wood ( Con Dudley South) revealed a Black Country firm is selling autonomous “pods” – small cars – in Korea, but cannot sell them in the UK because the law won’t currently allow them to be used on British roads.
He said: “Westfield Sportscars concluded a deal with a regional government in South Korea earlier this year, and I was pleased to welcome a del- egation from South Korea to Westfield in March.
“The firm is now supplying autonomous pods as an urban transit system in a £ 30 million contract that is potentially worth far, far more.
“Westfield is now working with Emirates to introduce similar pods airside, which has enormous potential – Emirates is looking at 3,000 vehicles.
“This small family firm based in the Black Country is delivering cutting- edge autonomous vehicles across the world.
“But until the Bill is enacted Westfield is unable to supply many of its pods for use right here in the United Kingdom,” he added.
Solihull MP Julian Knight