Hundreds of thousands of new jobs will be created by driverless cars, adding tens of billions to the economy and saving thousands of lives, according to a report by KPMG.
The claims come from a new report by KPMG for trade body the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, examining the impact technical advances may have on motoring.
The report claims that if Britain continues on its current course of embracing autonomous cars and incorporated technology, by 2030 driverless cars will create 320,000 new jobs in the UK – with 25,000 of those in automotive manufacturing. £51bn a year will also be added to the UK economy, with 2,500 lives saved by prevented 25,000 serious accidents between now and 2030.
The report also expects that a quarter of all cars sold by dealers’ will be fully autonomous by 2030 and all vehicles coming onto the UK roads will incorporate “connected” systems linking them to the online world, ranging from communications devices to driver aids such as collision avoidance.
As the UK never ratified an EU convention requiring vehicles to have a driver, it has been able to take an early lead in developing the technology over European rivals as no new legislation is needed to begin trials.
Four pilot schemes are already underway – in Bristol, Coventry, London and Milton Keynes – backed by Government money are under way to investigate how the technology can be incorporated on to UK roads.
In the Budget Chancellor George Osborne announced a further £100m of funding to investigate the technology, a sum which will be matched by industry, as ministers recognise the importance of grabbing pole position in the race to develop driverless cars.
Robert Goodwill, Transport Minister, said: “New technology is fundamental to government’s vision for our roads. Connected and autonomous cars will help us move to a smart, safe, efficient and low carbon future.”
Driverless cars will create value by reducing congestion as connected cars “talk” to each other to help prevent traffic jams, as well as boosting the economy through job creation, the report predicts. It also expects that people transported in autonomous vehicles being freed from having to control them, time spent in transit can be used for other tasks, boosting productivity.
Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, called on industry and government to ensure that the UK capitalises on its advantages to take the lead in the field.
“Connected and autonomous cars will transform our roads and the way society functions for generations to come,” he said. “The report shows the UK automotive industry is leading the way in developing the cars of the future that it will act as a catalyst for wider economic benefits.
“The UK must grasp the opportunities ahead so it is continually at the forefront of pushing through these next breakthrough technologies.”