The UK will benefit from 320,000 new jobs thanks to the development of connected and driverless cars, a study published by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders has found.
The study by KMPG found that technologically advanced cars will boost the economy by £51 million and could cut 25,000 serious road traffic accidents every year, by 2030.
But only 25,000 of these news jobs will be in the automotive manufacturing field.
In light of the research, the government this morning pledged to advance UK's position in the driverless and connected car stakes, despite the fact that similar technologies have previously had the brakes applied by the transport committee.
It has already funded driverless car trials worth £19 million that are taking place in Greenwich, Bristol and Milton Keynes. In addition, the chancellor announced a further £100 million was allocated for autonomous driver system research in his recent budget.
However, the transport committee have previously been slow to adopt driving safety technology in national policies. It has openly opposed the EU’s call to install black boxes that alert the emergency services in the case of a crash, along with other safety technologies presented by researchers.
While the eCall technology will be mandatory, if the UK remains in the EU, UK transport minister Claire Perry recently said: “The benefit of making eCall mandatory in all new cars does not justify the cost of implementing it…we do not support the measure, because it is not cost-effective for us.”
Further, another technology, Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), has been proven it could lead to a “significant reduction in fatal crashes”, but has never been considered for mandatory deployment.
Professor Oliver Carsten, professor of transport safety at Leeds University, says the government’s ambivalence over ISA was “a major missed opportunity for a very substantial improvement in road safety”.
Where will the money come from?
The £100 million driverless car cash is new money from the treasury, and part of the industrial strategy from the department for business, innovation and skills, which is guided by the Automotive council. The new money may not necessarily be invested in the existing driverless car pilots, but is likely to be part of a wider smarter city initiative, like the ones already seen in Glasgow and Bristol.
Transport minister Robert Goodwill said: “New technology is fundamental to government’s ambitious vision for our roads. Connected and autonomous cars will help us move towards a smart, safe, efficient and low-carbon future.”
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