New Laws To Regulate the Use of Automated Vehicles in Great Britain

January 2024
Region: Europe

The UK government has announced its intention to legislate on the use of autonomous vehicles in Great Britain.

In so doing, the key takeaways are that:

  • Qualifying autonomous vehicles need to be authorised as self-driving before they can be lawfully made available for use by an authorised self-driving entity (ADSE).
  • If an autonomous vehicle can be used without a so-called “user in charge” (UiC) being present, the operator needs to be licensed to oversee the operation of the vehicle.
  • The ADSEs and licensed operators are to be legally responsible for issues arising out of the use of autonomous vehicles.
  • The “users” of autonomous vehicles will not be legally responsible for any accidents that occur while the vehicle is operating in autonomous mode. Rather, this liability will become that of the ADSE in whose name the autonomous vehicle has been authorised (most likely the manufacturer) and, if the vehicle is capable of being operated without a UiC for any journey, the licensed operator.