You’ll soon be able to watch movies in your self-driving car* | Top Gear
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You’ll soon be able to watch movies in your self-driving car*

*As long as you can ‘resume control’ quickly. Proposed changes to UK Highway Code announced

Published: 20 Apr 2022
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The UK government has today said you’ll soon be able to watch Die Hard when you’re in your self-driving car. Though we may have appended the whole ‘Die Hard’ bit.

Following a public consultation, the Department for Transport announced planned changes to the UK Highway Code today, allowing drivers to benefit from “the first wave of technology” when self-driving cars hit UK roads.

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Changes to the current regulations will include allowing motorists “to view content that is not related to driving on built-in display screens, while the self-driving vehicle is in control”. However, the DfT noted that drivers must be ready to resume control “in a timely way” when prompted. Approaching motorway exits was cited as an example.

Using mobile phones will still be illegal, the DfT said, “given the greater risk they pose in distracting drivers as shown in research”, and the introduction of the tech will begin with allowing its use in slow-moving motorway traffic.

Full self-driving cars are still a way off, but the DfT said the first cars for British roads “could be ready for use later this year”, following “rigorous testing” and only after they’ve met “stringent standards”. The government is currently working on a full legal framework for self-driving cars.

“This is a major milestone in our safe introduction of self-driving vehicles,” explains transport minister Trudy Harrison, “which will revolutionise the way we travel, making our future journeys greener, safer and more reliable.”

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SMMT boss Mike Hawes said: “The technology could be available in the UK later this year and, with the right regulations in place, consumers are set to benefit from safer, more efficient journeys while the UK will strengthen its position as a global leader in the deployment of self-driving technology”.

RAC director Steve Gooding added: “The final part of the jigsaw is to ensure these amendments are widely communicated to, and understood by, vehicle owners. Vehicle manufacturers and sellers will have a vital role to play in ensuring their customers fully appreciate the capabilities of the cars they buy and the rules that govern them.”

Still a few hurdles to jump through, of course, but… yippee ki yay?

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