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UK government preparing "radical" self-driving car rules

The government is looking to implement a radical, new rule that would enable British drivers to let their cars park automatically.

Government officials are working on a radical set of rules that would overhaul British roads and legalise the use of self-driving cars on British roads by 2021 – but which may also water down rules against drivers using electronic devices in cars. 

Existing laws prevent drivers from using automatic parking functionalities. While there’s no risk of arrest, drivers can end up facing hefty fines if they’re caught parking with the feature.

In the past, consumers and car companies have slammed the government for this law because many manufacturers implement remote-control parking features in their cars.

The Department for Transport is currently exploring the suggestion and has issued a document exploring the use of handheld devices, such as phones, for activating remote-control parking.

Although self-parking sounds somewhat lazy, it’s a handy feature for drivers who are in a rush, but it’s also helpful for people with disabilities.

Soon, the following rule could be added to the Highway Code: “You can park your vehicle via remote control, using a legally compliant parking application or device in an appropriate way which does not endanger others.”

Transport minister Jesse Norman said that these new rules are crucial in helping the UK become a leader in driverless car technology.

“The government is determined that Britain should lead the way in embracing the safe deployment of new vehicle technology,” said Norman.

“Features such as remote-control parking and motorway assist have the potential to transform car travel, adding greater convenience and accessibility to drivers, so that they can park and drive with more confidence.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, added: “We welcome the government’s continued commitment to keep the UK at the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle development and rollout.” 

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