A month on from UK Government announcing that it will boost the UK's digital infrastructure with over £1 billion of public investment, international law firm Gowling WLG is calling for public and private sectors to be open to new ideas and ready to support new technologies when it comes to developing our infrastructure for the future.
Launching today, 'Paving the way - building the road infrastructure of the future for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs)', is the firm's latest white paper. It concludes that technology developed behind closed doors is unlikely to work well in conjunction with other rival technologies that have been similarly developed, which could be detrimental in creating an effective road transport network which will allow CAVs to work to their full potential.
The paper states that the UK and Europe have the chance to lead the transition towards an integrated and truly multimodal transport system.
Stuart Young, head of automotive at Gowling WLG, said: "While we recognise the value in the Government's near-to-market approach to regulating this new technology, we also strongly believe that a broader view needs to be taken to ensure that the long-term benefits of CAVs are delivered.
"If not, there's a danger that we could see a small market in autonomous vehicles as an evolution of high-end vehicle features but no real improvement in safety, congestion and the environment. Government, by controlling the regulatory framework and being responsible for infrastructure, has a unique ability to ensure that broader societal benefit."
Experts featured within the white paper call for further research, including experimental projects producing practical results, to be done into the impact of CAVs and what we, as a society, want those impacts to be. They suggest that Government considers conducting a major "hearts-and-minds" campaign, explaining the benefits of CAVs to the individual and society.
This white paper is the fourth in a series that Gowling WLG is producing in conjunction with UK Autodrive. The series will cover many of the most interesting elements affecting the dynamic developments around autonomous and connected vehicles, including data protection, moral algorithms (ethical software coding), cyber security and social policies.
UK Autodrive is the largest of three UK consortia launched to support the introduction of self-driving vehicles into the UK. UK Autodrive brings together leading technology and automotive businesses, forward-thinking local authorities and academic institutions to deliver a major three-year UK trial of autonomous and connected vehicle technologies. UK Autodrive is being supported by Innovate UK, the UK's innovation agency.