In a strong signal of support for the UK automotive and technology industries, the government has announced that a process is being developed to support the advanced trials of automated vehicles. Advanced trials will not be supported unless they have passed rigorous safety assessments.

In response to feedback from industry, the government has also announced that its code of practice for testing automated vehicles will be strengthened further to set even clearer expectations for safe and responsible trials.

The ‘code of practice’, first published in 2015, makes clear that automated vehicle trials are possible on any UK road provided they are compliant with UK law – including testing with a remote driver. The update to the code acknowledges the growing desire of the industry to conduct more advanced trials, and a process to handle such trials on public roads is now being developed.

Under the strengthened code, those carrying out trials for automated vehicles will be expected to publish safety information, trial performance reports and to carry out risks assessments before conducting a trial. Trialling organisations are also expected to inform the relevant authorities, emergency services, and anyone who might be affected by the trial activity.