Autonomous vehicles

Autonomous vehicles

The way in which people and goods travel is changing rapidly. As a new era of transport continues to unfold at pace, we are calling for international, industrywide standards around liability, safety and data privacy, across road, rail, aviation and maritime sectors.

The benefits to society and the environment are potentially huge. That is not to say that the new era of driverless transport will be risk-free. Rather, the nature of risk will shift away from the people who operate the vehicles towards the people who design and build the vehicles.

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The future of transport: A brave new world?

As one of the largest studies on attitudes towards autonomous vehicles to date, our new report explores public support across the globe and insights from key industry leaders.

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Undoubtedly the disruptive power of autonomous vehicle technology will re-shape the transport sector and wider society as a whole. Clearly the technology is not going away and we must acknowledge that alongside the many benefits, there are a range of emerging risks for businesses and end-users.

Deborah Newberry, Corporate Affairs Director

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As a new era of transport continues to unfold, Kennedys is here to keep you up to date on the latest developments and what they mean for you and your business.

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Our key recommendations

1. Careful planning and investment required

For vehicle manufacturers, operators and insurers, the task of transforming business models will take years of careful planning and investment. The need to develop a deep understanding of the emerging risks associated with new technologies, as well as the emerging legal frameworks, will be a vital component of any investment decision.

2. End-users will be a critical factor in the adoption of new technology

High-profile fatalities involving the new technology has the potential to shift the public – and by extension political and regulatory – landscape, delaying the adoption of such innovation for years and potentially decades. Ensuring public confidence throughout this process of innovation and taking every step to raise public awareness around the benefits will be essential in building greater trust and allaying public concerns.

3. Manufacturers’ business models

Manufacturers will need to determine if they should redesign their business models to accommodate all different ownership models or whether to focus on one market. This cannot be done in isolation. Collaboration between OEMs is crucial in ensuring we avoid a fragmented approach in operating systems between different jurisdictions. This must be avoided at all costs.

4. Data protection and management are key

Setting out clear policies on what data is being collected and how this is used is critical to build consumer trust. With regards to data management, there are clear benefits in the creation of a central industry-wide data-hub shared by manufacturers, insurers and government agencies alike.

5. Cross-industry and state-led collaboration required

It is clear that a cross-industry and state-led collaborative effort will be required to create the infrastructure and environment for autonomous vehicle technology to be developed, to accommodate public perception and to put public safety front and centre.

6. Overcoming public barriers

A comprehensive road map must be developed to adopt change and overcome public barriers, with strong communications with citizens a crucial element of this. There is a strong relationship between public understanding of the technology and subsequent levels of support.