The Government has introduced new laws that will allow drivers to use remote control parking and other advanced driving assistance (ADAS) systems on British roads.
The Department for Transport (DfT) says updates will provide clarity for motorists about how the technologies can be used, and allow the increased use of features like cruise control.
The updates, it says, will make sure drivers are ready to use these new technologies safely and ensure the law is flexible for future breakthroughs.
After consulting on changes to the Highway Code and relevant regulations earlier this year, the technology received overwhelming support from a range of groups including manufacturers, insurance groups and haulage companies.
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.”
Highway Code rules will be changed so clarity is given on both the use of remote control parking, and driver assistance systems that can control aspects of driving such as changing lanes on the motorway.
The changes proposed will update Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulation 110.
Currently, the regulation stipulates that drivers may not hold a mobile device while in their vehicle.
The proposed update will allow drivers to use their remote control parking device. They will need to be within six metres of their vehicle. These updates will then be reflected in the Highway Code.
Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT), 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.
“It is another welcome commitment from government to keep the UK firmly at the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle development and rollout.”
The changes are part of a package of measures being taken to ensure UK road laws are fit to support self-driving cars as they develop and provide clarity on new use cases.
The Government also recently tasked the Law Commission with a detailed review of driving laws, along with planned updates to the code of practice.
It also builds on previous consultations on self-driving vehicles, and the recently published Industrial Strategy, which designated the future of mobility as one of the four grand challenges.
Along with changes to the regulatory framework, the Government is confident that this will help realise its desire to see fully self-driving cars on the UK roads by 2021.
The DfT however, said it is important to note that, while ADAS will benefit British road users, drivers must continue to maintain overall control of their vehicle.
The remote-control function may be used in a variety of ways, it says, from a key fob issued by the manufacturer, to an app on a device such as a mobile phone.