AV Legislation “Halted” By 2017 Election, Says GLA Transport Chair

Greg Hyde talks to Greater London Assembly (GLA) Transport Committee chairperson Caroline Pidgeon about automotive issues in the capital.

With so many interested parties throwing their hats into the ring over whether greater adoption of electric and autonomous vehicles in our cities will be a good or a bad thing, trying to oversee policy on these issues, whilst also ensuring everyone’s voices are heard fairly and equally, must undoubtedly be a stressful task.

Following her committee’s often emotionally charged meeting on the ramifications of these issues for London’s taxi and private hire car firms, Caroline Pidgeon gave an exclusive interview to TU-Automotive. She claimed national legislation on AVs was “halted” by UK Prime Minister Theresa May’s decision to call a snap general election last year. She also expressed the view that greater adoption of EVs in London “is absolutely vital to tackling the [city’s] air pollution”, but electricity generation is a far more crucial factor in carbon footprint reduction.

 

Q: Are there moves to make the road infrastructure in London more suitable for self-driving cars?

“The real issues are actually nationwide, such as ensuring liability and insurance issues for self-driving road vehicles are addressed. There was proposed legislation on this issue (Vehicle Technology and Aviation Bill), but its passage through Parliament was halted by the snap general election in 2017.”

“Transport for London (TfL) certainly need to consider the implications of any proposed introduction of autonomous buses to London’s roads, particularly safety issues and the potential reduction in customer service for bus passengers. Some of the other steps that TfL should be taking are set out in the report Future Transport, that the GLA Transport Committee published earlier this year. The real priorities for London’s roads are to make sure they are less congested and made safer for pedestrians and cyclists.”

Q: Do you think greater adoption of electric cars is necessary to reduce London’s carbon footprint?

“The greater adoption of electric cars is absolutely vital to tackling the air pollution we all breathe in London. In fact we also need to ensure there is a big switch towards electric buses, vans, taxis and private hire vehicles as well.”

“Whether electric cars (and other vehicles) in addition reduce our carbon footprint actually relies in large part on how the electricity is generated.”

Q: Did you hear about FiveAI sending cars around Bromley and Croydon and capturing other road users’ data? Do you think this represents a violation of civil liberties?

“Yes, I have heard about this. I recognize that FiveAI claim that the data processed and stored will be in full compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). However, I would like some further assurances about how they are collecting the data.”


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