The UK is placed fifth in a new assessment by KPMG ranking countries’ readiness for autonomous vehicles.
Topping the consultant’s Autonomous Vehicle Readiness Index is the Netherlands, followed by Singapore, the US, Sweden, UK, Germany, Canada, UAE, New Zealand and South Korea.
The countries have been ranked on four criteria: Policy and legislation; Technology & innovation; Infrastructure; and Consumer acceptance.
In a foreword, Richard Threlfall, global head of infrastructure at KPMG International, says: “Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are poised to revolutionise not only transportation but the way people live and work throughout the world. But are countries ready for an AV-driven future? T
“The 2018 Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI) provides an in-depth view of what it takes for countries to meet the challenges of self-driving vehicles, evaluating the preparedness of a cross-section of 20 countries globally.
“This is the first study of its kind, examining where countries are today in terms of progress and capacity for adapting AV technology. The Index evaluates each country according to four pillars that are integral to a country’s capacity to adopt and integrate autonomous vehicles.
“The pillars comprised a number of variables that reflect the wide range of factors that impact a country's AV readiness, from the availability of electric vehicle charging stations, to AV technology R&D, to the population’s acceptance of the technology, to the regulatory environment.
“We hope this index proves a useful tool in the assessment of the readiness of countries to adopt one of this century’s most exciting technologies.”
The report comes as the National Infrastructure Commission and Highways England have launched a competition for the design of roads to meet the changes that will be needed to incorporate the development of driverless cars and vehicles moving in convoys.
Organisations can apply for a share of up to £200,000 to look at the design, management and use of UK roads for connected and autonomous vehicles.
Changes in use could mean there may be no need for traffic lights, and lane directions could change depending on the time of day.
The competition is seeking practical ideas on designing and managing roads in three areas:
- Road design and related infrastructure including line markings, signs, posts, gantries, crash barriers and lighting columns.
- Traffic management such as traffic signals and any other means of controlling traffic flow.
- Road rules and regulations including such things as speed limits and waiting or loading restrictions.
Funding for the competition is under the Small Business Research Initiative and up to £150,000 is available for feasibility studies in a first phase. The best project could attract £50,000 to develop it further in a second phase.
The competition is open, and the deadline for registration is at midday on 7 March 2018.