Remote control parking will be legal in the UK from June, following new legislation introduced yesterday.
This latest development is another step towards increased automation, with remote parking just one of a number of driving assistance technologies that have the potential to transform car travel, says the Department of Transport (DfT).
The updates will provide clarity for motorists about how the technologies can be used, it says, while allowing the increased use of features like cruise control.
The DfT also claims that technology has the potential to make driving more energy efficient, meaning cheaper and cleaner journeys, with improved air quality for both drivers and pedestrians.
The move follows consultation with a range of groups, including manufacturers, insurance companies and hauliers, and remote parking is part of a package of work designed to keep the UK at the forefront of the automated driving sector while ensuring our roads are ready for new technology.
The 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.”
But the DfT was quick to point out that, while drivers should embrace the new technology, they must remain in control of their vehicle.
Currently, drivers are not permitted to hold a mobile phone while in the car, but the proposed update will allow them to use a remote control device if they are within six metres of the vehicle. The update will be reflected in the Highway Code.
The remote parking function may be used in a number of ways, from a key fob issued by the manufacturer to a smartphone app.
For example, Mercedes-Benz offers a Remote Parking Assist, which allows owners to manoeuvre into and out of a parking space via an app. Prices start from £19 for a three-month licence to £119 for a full three years of parking joy.
SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes, welcomed the move, saying: “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.
“[This] 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.
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