Self-driving cars will lead to the creation of 320,000 new jobs in the UK by 2030, according to the latest research by the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).
The study, which was carried out in partnership with KPMG, contradicts the usual line of thought which claims that automation will result in a huge loss of employment.
“Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: The UK Economic Opportunity” reveals that the mass adoption of new technology will revitalise the UK’s automotive industry. Britain currently employs 770,000 people in the industry, however, this is still a far cry from the country’s 1950s heyday, when the UK was the world’s second-largest manufacturer of cars and the largest exporter.
The report indicates that 25,000 new jobs will be created in manufacturing alone, and that the industry’s growth will see the UK become the world leader in connected cars by 2030.
Autonomous vehicles will also usher in a wealth of other benefits, including preventing 25,000 serious accidents between 2014 and 2030 and saving 2,500 lives. They are also expected to add £51 billion of economic and social value during the same period.
Despite the optimism surrounding Britain’s automotive future, the report does highlight that fully autonomous vehicles are some way off yet, and a number of technical and social challenges still need to be overcome. In particular, cybersecurity, data privacy and liability in the event of an accident still need to be clarified with regards to autonomous vehicles.
However, Mike Hawes, chief executive of the SMMT, believe that connected cars remain the way forward and that the UK is well positioned to take advantage of this new technology.
“The UK has unrivalled strengths in many of the key areas integral to the development of connected and autonomous vehicles: advanced engineering, systems integration, digital technology and software development,” he said. “With continued and increased support from government alongside collaboration with adjacent sectors, the UK can stay ahead in the race for the driverless cars of the future. We must not let this opportunity pass us by.”