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Government proposes to let drivers use remote control parking technology

The government has unveiled proposals to allow drivers to use remote control parking systems on British streets, in a bid to accelerate the adoption of driverless technology.

Transport minister Jesse Norman is launching a public consultation today that will pave the way for Brits to start using the technology under new regulations and a revised Highway Code.

The consultation also includes regulatory changes to encourage the widespread use of motorway cruise control systems that can automatically change lanes. Both measures will benefit drivers with mobility problems, said the Department for Transport.

“The government is determined that Britain should lead the way in embracing the safe deployment of new vehicle technology,” said Norman. “Features such as remote control parking and motorway assist have the potential to transform car travel, adding greater convenience and accessibility to drivers, so that they can park and drive with more confidence.”

Under current regulations, drivers are prohibited from using mobile phones while they are in their car. But the changes would mean drivers can use remote control parking devices, even if it requires the use of a smartphone app, within six metres of their vehicle.

The consultation forms parts of government plans to roll out fully self-driving cars in Britain by 2021. In the industrial strategy white paper published last month, the future of UK mobility was identified as one of the government’s four “grand challenges” for British workers.

Mike Hawes, chief executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers & Traders, welcomed the news: “Manufacturers invest billions in engineering technology to enhance driver comfort, safety and convenience, so these proposals, providing clarity and confidence to consumers, are good news.

“We welcome government’s continued commitment to keep the UK at the forefront of connected and autonomous vehicle development and rollout.”

The consultation will last for six weeks.