The UK has been ranked the fifth most prepared nation for the introduction of self-driving cars, just behind the Netherlands, Singapore, the US and Sweden.
A new index from KPMG ranks 20 countries on their readiness for autonomous vehicles (AVs) based on infrastructure, policy and legislation, consumer acceptance, and technology and innovation.
Britain features in the top five for three of these criteria, but is let down by a mid-table ranking for infrastructure based on its poor 4G coverage and need for road network improvements.
“The UK should be well placed for AV adoption in light of its expected shift from personal vehicle ownership to mobility services, where fleets are more likely to adopt AV due to the cost of drivers,” KPMG director, Christoph Domke, said.
A new Automated and Electric Vehicle Bill reflects the UK’s high ranking for legislation, with the government already determining it legal for driverless cars to operate on any public roads without permits or extra insurance.
Last year, chancellor Philip Hammond pledged £400m for charging infrastructure to support electric vehicles, the precursors of AVs, further boosting the UK’s preparedness.
In addition, the country’s effectiveness of law-making and legal system efficiency in challenging regulations helped its ranking in the index, as did its high score for consumer acceptance.
The top 10 countries in the index are shown below:
KPMG said the Netherlands came out top due to its widespread acceptance of electric cars, high density of charging stations, a robust telecommunications network, and large-scale AV road tests planned.
India was ranked 20th in the index, with Mexico, Russia, Brazil and China completing the bottom five.
“Planning today for an AV future is essential, because it is not a question of if, but when, AVs become the dominant mode of transport,” KPMG International global head of infrastructure, Richard Threlfall said.
“Embracing partnerships between government and the private sector can speed technology development, while helping ensure that the introduction of AVs meet public policy objectives.
“It is important to engage all stakeholders – government, business and citizens – in planning for AVs. It’s not just about transportation, we need to be prepared for the impact of AVs on all aspects of our lives.”
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