car parking

Remote control parking to be legalised in the UK

Image credit: Dreamstime

From next month drivers will be able to automatically park their vehicles under new rules from the Department for Transport (DfT) which pave the way towards eventual legislation allowing for driverless cars.

It is hoped the technology will improve the accuracy of manoeuvres and make tight parking spaces available to more drivers.

Changes to the Highway Code and relevant regulations were consulted on earlier this year and received “overwhelming support from a range of groups including manufacturers, insurance groups and haulage companies” DfT said.

Remote control parking and motorway assist have the potential to transform car travel for those with mobility challenges, unlocking tight parking spaces and using computers to help driver accuracy on the road.

Cars fitted with ultrasonic sensors and automated and connected software are able to undertake a number of tasks including parallel and end-on parking at the touch of a button whilst the driver stands outside the vehicle.

Remote control parking is already included in a number of high-end car models from the likes of Mercedes, Peugeot and Jaguar.

DfT officials previously expressed concern that there was uncertainty as to whether motorists using their phone to park could be prosecuted.

Transport minister Jesse Norman said: “Advanced driver assistance systems are already starting to revolutionise driving.

“It’s encouraging to see the strong support for these innovations from a range of stakeholders. We will continue to review our driving laws, in order to ensure drivers can enjoy the potential of these new tools safely.”

The changes are part of a package to ensure UK road laws support automated driving technology.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, said: “Even the best drivers can get sweaty palms when confronted with a tight parking space, but as with so many aspects of motoring the technology to assist exists and has now been legislated for.

“This law change shows that ministers are determined to ensure regulations keep up with the tech so we all benefit from advances that make our lives both simpler and safer.

“It is important that these relatively small advances in automation work flawlessly as this will build consumer confidence for the day when the car won’t just be doing the parking but also all of the driving.”

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, said: “Connected and autonomous vehicles will transform our lives, with the potential to reduce up to 25,000 serious accidents and create more than 300,000 jobs over the next decade.

“Today’s announcement is just one step towards increasing automation but it is an important one enabling increased convenience especially for those with restricted mobility.”

Ministers hope to see fully self-driving cars on Britain's roads by 2021 and a number of automakers including Jaguar Land Rover and Nissan have already carried out tests.

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