By Obinna Ezenwa
The UK Government under proposed updates to the Highway Code, has announced that people using self-driving cars will be allowed to watch television on built-in screens.
The proposed Highway Code changes, will say drivers must be ready to take back control of vehicles when prompted, the Government revealed.
The first use of self-driving technology is likely to be when travelling at slow speeds on motorways, such as in congested traffic.
The Government stressed that using mobile phones while driving will remain illegal.
No self-driving cars are currently allowed on UK roads, but the first vehicles capable of driving themselves could be ready for use later this year, the Department for Transport (DfT) said.
The planned changes to the code are expected to come in over the summer.
The updates, proposed following public consultation, were described as an interim measure to support the early adoption of the technology and a full regulatory framework is planned to be implemented by 2025.
They will also lay out that users of self-driving cars will not be responsible for crashes.
Instead insurance companies, not individuals, will be liable for claims in many circumstances, the DfT said.
The Government, in April last year, announced hands-free driving in vehicles with lane-keeping technology on congested motorways would be permitted.
Automated lane-keeping system technology lets a vehicle drive in a single lane, up to 37mph (60kmph), while maintaining the ability to return control to the driver when required.
Under the new guidance, motorists should be ready take control from an automated system when prompted, for example when approaching a motorway exit.
Dft hinted that currently available technology is ‘assistive’, which means drivers should always retain control.
Experts have suggested a vehicle can stop built-in screens displaying material unrelated to driving when the motorist is required to resume control.
But there is currently no comparable system to turn off handheld mobile devices.