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Uber warns not to impede innovation or over-regulate self-driving vehicles as it hints at moving into UK market

30 Jun 2019


Uber has issued a warning to the UK not to impede innovation or create artificial barriers, as it hints that it may move to bring autonomous vehicles into the UK market.


Uber told the Law Commission that there may potentially be "natural tension" between innovation and safety.

They recommended that regulators should steer-away from making solid decisions until there is evidence available to support those decisions. 


Uber's self driving program is no stranger to controversy. In March of last year it temporarily ceased trialling its autonomous vehicles after one of the cars killed a woman in Tempe, Arizona.


Uber, who are believed to be working towards what is known in the tech-industry as "level four" autonomy, were the only US company to respond to the Law Commission's consultation on how self-driving vehicles could be regulated. 


Level four autonomy means that cars have the capability of piloting themselves on certain types of road, whereas level five autonomy is an indicator that an autonomous vehicle can drive itself in all road situations.


The Law Commission, is looking for responses to proposals for the regulation of self-driving vehicles. 


Those proposals could include criminal proceedings against anyone who is negligent while in charge of an autonomous vehicle. There could also be a review of the corporate manslaughter legislation in relation to death or serious injury caused by any given company's autonomous vehicle.


Other aspects of the proposals include asking whether a vehicle should be able to mount the pavement to avoid an accident and also to allow emergency vehicles to get past it, and also whether the vehicle should be able to creep through heavy pedestrian traffic.


Another aspect brought up in the proposals is the question as to whether there should be a back-up driver, or remote access to a third party who can control the vehicle externally when necessary.


The Telegraph reported that the Law Commission was looking at a further consultation on legislation for autonomous taxi fleets.

Transport for London said: “If the 'user-in-charge' were to be based outside the vehicle and responsible for many vehicles remotely, this could present concerns if they needed to resume control of multiple vehicles.”


Image Source: Wikimedia Commons 

Image Author: Diablanco

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