Today, Hermann Meyer gave evidence to the UK House of Lords regarding highly automated vehicles on behalf of the ERTICO Partnership. Other witnesses included Claire Depré, Head of Sustainable and Intelligent Transport Unit, DG Transport and Mobility at the European Commission, and Mike Hawes, Chief Executive Officer, Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

Some of the main points touched by the enquiry committee covered the benefits of highly automated driving, the timeframe of driveless cars’ actual deployment and some regulatory challenges the technology might face.

Hermann Meyer highlighted that one of the key benefits from the deployment of highly automated vehicles is the enhancement of safety. More than 90% of accidents are due to human error; automated vehicles functions such as ADAS, forward collision warnings, and emergency braking will help to reduce accidents which otherwise would have been caused by human error.

He also expressed the necessity for a common European regulatory framework as well as focusing on interoperability of technology. Touching again on the context of safety, Dr Meyer expressed a strong need to test the systems and learn from the results through European testbeds.

Connected automated vehicles will also have positive implications on road maintenance as they will be able to spot disruption on roads and, when connected to surrounding infrastructure, they will be able to provide relevant information such as holes in the road. Linking connected automated vehicles to traffic management centres will further improve the overall traffic management.

Other questions concerned liability in case of accidents and data. Hermann Meyer highlighted the fact that liability stays with whoever is in control; if the automated vehicle was in control the liability is with the product if the driver was in control of the vehicle the liability lays with them. The complex part is to get the information at the exact moment the accident happened and to have data to prove it.

Automated vehicles can be the real game changer; they can bring new tech companies and new opportunities to the business.

The event was streamed live on Parliament TV and the recording is available here.