On 27 November, the Government released its white paper "Industrial Strategy: building a Britain fit for the future". This set the ambitious aim of having fully autonomous cars, without any human operator, on Britain's roads by 2021.
The Government promised to make "world-leading changes to the regulatory framework, including...to allow developers to apply to test their vehicles nationwide without a human safety operator". It also stated it was working with the Law Commission on "a long-term regulatory framework for self-driving vehicles".
In common with the white paper generally, there were few specifics as to how this would be put into practice. If we truly are to see cars driving themselves on our roads in 2021, there a huge amount of legal and regulatory groundwork will have to be undertaken. And the Government already has a lot of that on its plate with Brexit.
The government wants to see fully self-driving cars, without a human operator, on UK roads by 2021. We will therefore make world-leading changes to the regulatory framework, including updating our code of practice for testing automated vehicles to allow developers to apply to test their vehicles nationwide without a human safety operator and carrying out a project with the Law Commission to set out proposals for a long-term regulatory framework for self-driving vehicles.