Autonomous Vehicles and Drones
You may be liable if one of your vehicles is involved in a road accident. Much depends upon witnesses, including your own driver. This gives you some protection against prosecution and claims for injuries and damage, but it could change.
The Modern Transport Bill has not been published, but the Queen’s Speech set out the intention to, “ensure the UK is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles.” Trials of driver-less vehicles are planned for Bristol, Coventry and London streets. Tests are already under way on pedestrianised areas of Milton Keynes. Manufacturers are investing heavily in autonomous vehicles, with Audi expecting to come to market during 2017.
BMW, Ford, Jaguar, Land Rover, Nissan, Toyota have all announced launch dates and even Google is getting in on the act. Current autonomous vehicle R&D is focused on cars, but the scope will widen. Sooner or later, every fleet manager will have to contemplate the issue of driver-less road vehicles. More immediately, thousands of other unmanned vehicles are already in daily use nationwide and the commercial possibilities need consideration.
Anyone can buy a drone and start to fly it. Usually, that is exactly what happens although drones are not toys, they are vehicles. As such, commercially used drones should be the responsibility of fleet managers. Before any organisation considers operating drones, the law should be checked. It is very clear: “You must be in possession of a Permission issued by the CAA before you conduct any aerial work with your drone.” If your organisation uses an unmanned aerial vehicle commercially without CAA permission, your risk begins with the potential for prosecution. If you have a drone involved in an accident, the possible consequences range from reputation damage to unlimited legal penalties.
Article Courtesy of Fleet Matters.