Picture of TRL's Nick Reed

Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: Time for the UK Government to act

Published:  30 March, 2017

In the wake of the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee's report: ‘Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: The future?’, TRL’s academy director Nick Reed, offers his view.


‘The House of Lords inquiry considered a wide range of views and evidence presented to them at the end of last year, and has issued a positive and reasonable set of recommendations for the government to consider, building upon an exciting programme of research already under way.

‘It’s refreshing to see the committee recognise that the benefits of connectivity and automation have the potential to transform mobility in a range of sectors including freight, marine and agriculture, going beyond the development of privately owned driverless cars.

‘Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) are developing in two distinct ways; fully automated vehicles operating in increasingly sophisticated environments and vehicles in which automated systems take responsibility for greater parts of the task at hand, whether that be driving, harvesting crops or delivering parcels. The opportunity for CAVs is almost endless; there are so many sectors where they can have an immediate and positive impact.

‘To maximise the opportunity associated with connectivity and automation in the UK, key organisations working in this area must take advantage of testing and development environments where they can successfully achieve international ambitions from a domestic base.

‘TRL has been working in this area for a long time and has created the UK Smart Mobility Living Lab (UKSMLL) to address this need.

‘In a real-world test environment comprising the Royal Borough of Greenwich, the UKSMLL allows issues relating to future transport (including CAVs) to be explored in the context of a megacity.

‘This enables organisations to accelerate concept development while local and city authorities can understand how such services can safely enhance existing transport provision.

‘It also allows exploration of the human and financial implications of CAVs that the Lords highlighted as being in clear need of further research.”

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