Brake, the road safety charity, has welcomed the announcement today regarding continued testing of technologies relating to the development of autonomous vehicles and their promised potential benefits for safety and the environment.
Brake's director of campaigns, Jason Wakeford, says: “Most collisions involve driver error as a causation factor, and while full vehicle automation clearly presents many major challenges still and is not yet with us, the technological strides happening today on the road towards automation are life-saving. High-spec vehicles already on the market are being fitted with a range of technologies including sensors that can detect pedestrians and cyclists in certain situations and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a collision. Such vital technologies should continue to be advanced and legislated as soon as possible. Continued autonomous vehicle trials here in the UK helps encourage the flourishing and development of such technologies.
“Alongside the development of vehicle automation, city planners must also protect and increase available and segregated space for people on foot and bicycles. If this doesn’t happen, there is a real risk that our cities and towns will, in the future, be over-run with automated vehicles. To be active, healthy and sociable, people need to walk and cycle and be given places to do it away from traffic, whether that traffic is automated or not. Vehicle manufacturers have suggested that automation will free up urban space, for example because it is possible there will be fewer parked cars. If that becomes a reality, this released space could and should be given back to the people in the form of segregated cycle paths and foot paths, to make our urban environments great places to be.”
Notes to editors
Brake is a national road safety charity, founded in 1995, that exists to stop the needless deaths and serious injuries that happen on roads every day, make streets and communities safer for everyone, and care for families bereaved and injured in road crashes. Brake promotes road safety awareness, safe and sustainable road use, and effective road safety policies. We do this through national campaigns, community education, services for road safety professionals and employers, and by coordinating the UK's flagship road safety event every November, Road Safety Week. Brake is a national, government-funded provider of support to families and individuals devastated by road death and serious injury, including through a helpline and support packs.