Motorists can take a seat again and watch TV as soon as self-using cars are authorized on British roads but could be banned from the usage of handheld mobile telephones, authorities plans found out Wednesday.
The Department for Transport set out changes to The Highway Code to “help ensure the primary wave of self-riding vehicles are used safely”.
A DfT spokesman showed that in self-driving mode, users might not be responsible for crashes, handing the baton to insurers.
However “motorists must be ready to resume control in a timely way if they are prompted to — such as when they approach motorway exits”, said a DfT statement.
The government hopes to have a full regulatory framework in place by 2025.
Changes would allow drivers to view content unrelated to driving “on built-in display screens, while the self-driving vehicle is in control.
“It will, however, still be illegal to use mobile phones in self-driving mode, given the greater risk they pose in distracting drivers as shown in research,” the statement added.
The plans come in the wake of recent similar proposals by the US National Road Safety Agency.
In Britain, the development of self-driving vehicles could create 38,000 jobs worth almost £42 billion ($55 billion) to the economy by 2035, the DfT said.
The regulatory changes are “a major milestone in our safe introduction of self-driving vehicles, which will revolutionize the way we travel, making our future journeys greener, safer, and more reliable”, Transport Minister Trudy Harrison said Wednesday.
At the end of last year, Chinese authorities approved the use of “robotaxis” on the streets of Beijing.
While the vehicles drive themselves, a taxi company employee must sit in the front of each car should sudden intervention be required.
Responding to Britain’s proposals, Steve Gooding — director of UK motoring research frame RAC Foundation — said driverless cars “promise a destiny wherein dying and damage on our roads are cut significantly”.
The DfT claimed the new technology ought to improve road safety across the UK by decreasing human errors, an aspect in 88 percent of the country’s recorded road collisions.