21 October 2020

A multi-disciplinary team at Burges Salmon has produced a legal report examining the regulatory framework relating to the use of automated pods – an emerging, highly automated passenger-only vehicle – as part of its work with Capri, the collaborative research and development project awarded by the government’s Centre for Connected & Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and commissioned by Innovate UK.

Capri was launched in 2017 to build passenger, regulatory and market trust in autonomous pods as a practical, safe and affordable way to travel. A consortium of 16 members led by AECOM, the pilot project includes the development of autonomous vehicle technology in addition to reducing the barriers to market for a commercial autonomous pod service.

The Burges Salmon team – led by Chris Jackson, partner and head of the firm’s Infrastructure sector group, and Lucy Pegler, director in the Technology and Communications team – has led the project’s legal research into the current regulatory environment for automated pods operating in ‘dual-mode’, i.e. on pedestrian routes (such as pavements) and on roads.

The research also examines the future regulatory landscape and provides recommendations for UK government and industry to review the underlying regulation defining road and pavements currently underpinning how new mobility technology can be used.

Lucy says: “It’s been fantastic to work as legal partner to the Capri consortium over the past few years and to contribute to the project by producing this report on the regulatory aspects of bringing a commercial autonomous pod solution to the market.

“Our report explores how attempting to shoehorn new mobility technologies into the existing regulatory regime would stifle innovation in the UK and makes a number of recommendations. Central to our recommendations is new regulation defining roads and pavements that will future proof the UK’s commercial development capabilities in the Connected and Automated Mobility (CAM) sector by ensuring that new definitions reflect current and future mobility technology.”

The report has been published as part of Capri’s ‘virtual museum’, launched on 21 October 2020 to showcase the project’s achievements to date and provide an opportunity for visitors to learn more about the business case for autonomous pods, the safety aspects, as well as the user experience and security of the vehicles. You can read Burges Salmon’s report, ‘The use of automated pods in dual-mode – Legal Report’, here.

Key contact

Lucy Pegler

Lucy Pegler Partner

  • Technology and Communications
  • Data Protection and Cybersecurity
  • Outsourcing

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