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'Hands off' driving on motorways could soon be a reality
'Hands off' driving on motorways could soon be a reality

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The Journey to Autonomous Vehicles : Why safety has to come first

Matthew Avery, Director of Research at the UK’s leading independent vehicle safety organisation, Thatcham Research, will this evening feature on ITV4’s 'Goodwood First Glance' (9 pm) in an interview with Nicki Shields, explaining the key stages in the move towards full vehicle autonomy and why safety has to be the priority.

Viewers will be taken on a journey from the ‘assisted driving’ capabilities such as Lane Departure Warning that we are familiar with today, through 2018 when hands-off driving on motorways for short periods will be permitted, and 2021 when this will be relaxed to allow fully hands off driving on certain stretches of motorway, all the way to full autonomy in 2025. 

Avery will reiterate the importance of safe, robust systems where the driver is ultimately in full control at all times, as well as the need for full engagement with consumers along the way.

“During the next decade we’ll move incrementally closer to full vehicle autonomy, passing some key regulatory and technology milestones before reaching the point from 2025 where we can expect vehicles to be able to drive themselves from door-to-door, completely hands free,” said Avery.

“The speed of development of this technology is quite remarkable and car makers should be applauded for their innovation. However, it’s imperative that consumers are kept fully informed as things progress if we are to avoid the confusion and lack of education that exists today over the availability and performance of essential safety technologies like Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB).”

A video of Matthew Avery explaining the key steps to autonomous driving and the developments we’ll see in the near future is available to watch and download here

The simple graphic, available below, captures the main stages on the road to autonomous driving.

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Thatcham Research

Safer cars, fewer crashes...

As the UK's only insurer funded automotive research centre, Thatcham Research enjoy a wide remit at the forefront of the latest vehicle technology. Thatcham's leading work in vehicle safety and security has a vital role in shaping the designs of new vehicles, whilst the centre is also seen as a key industry player at the forefront of driving standards in vehicle body repair.

Thatcham's Crash Laboratory is the only official UK crash testing centre for consumer safety body Euro NCAP and are viewed as a centre of excellence when it comes to active vehicle safety, particularly the evaluation of new Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) which provide the foundation for future vehicle autonomy.

Enjoying an increasingly global influence in both the insurance and automotive sectors, Thatcham Research expertise is in great demand with a range of opinion leaders being regularly asked to provide their experience and know-how at high profile events and in the media, living up to their reputation as ‘Experts in Safety, Security and Crash Repair’.

Thatcham Research
Colthrop Way
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