Ministers have launched the proposals as development of the technology begins to accelerate, in the hope that the reforms will help the UK to lead the way in autonomous vehicles.
Under the plans, the Highway Code would be updated to bring it into line with use of self-driving cars, while insurance law would also be altered to ensure drivers are covered properly.
It is thought that the introduction of driverless vehicles to the country’s roads will require a number of changes to the Code, which was first published in 1931.
These could include an alteration to rule 160, which states that motorists “should drive with both hands on the wheel where possible”.
The proposals are also aiming to deal with complications in insurance created by the arrival of self-driving technology, such as over the issue of liability in accidents.
Currently, it is unclear whether the vehicle operator or manufacturer would be responsible for a collision when control is taken out of a driver’s hands.
To tackle the confusion, ministers will ensure motor insurance remains compulsory, but extend it in a Modern Transport Bill to cover product liability for automated vehicles.
In a statement, they said that driverless cars had the potential to increase friction between different parties in the event of a crash, which could result in delayed compensation payments.
They added that unless the risk of this confusion was reduced, sales and use of automated vehicles would suffer.
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The public is now being invited to get involved with a nine-week consultation on the issue of driverless cars starting on Monday, July 11. More information on how to have your say can be found here.
Announcing the proposals, Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said that driverless technology had the potential to revolutionise travel.
“Britain is leading the way, but I want everyone to have the chance to have a say on how we embrace and use these technologies,” he said.
“Our roads are already some of the safest in the world and increasing advanced driver assist and driverless technologies have the potential to help cut the number of accidents further.”
Further issues up for discussion in the consultation include the ways in which driverless technology could be targeted by cyber-criminals, which has also been highlighted in recent research.