JLR Connected CarThe SMMT has revealed studies that show future high-tech autonomous and connected cars will create 320,000 new jobs in the UK.

This will equate to a staggering £51 billion boost to the UK economy by 2030, says KPMG – and also cut serious road traffic accidents by 25,000 a year.

Technologies including autonomous ‘self-driving’ cars and on-board technology that lets cars communicate with other vehicles and the environment will behind the big gains, the SMMT has discovered in new research into the connected and autonomous car sector.

Revealing its findings in the first SMMTConnected industry event, chief executive Mike Hawes said connected and autonomous cars are set to transform our roads and dramatically reduce accidents.

And the UK car industry is set to be a world leader in the sector, adds KPMG.

“The KPMG report clearly shows the UK automotive industry is leading the way in developing the cars of the future and that it will act as a catalyst for wider economic benefits that will create more than 300,000 jobs by 2030,” said Hawes.

“The UK must grasp the opportunities ahead and ensure it is continually at the forefront of pushing through these next breakthrough technologies.”

New technology showcase

The SMMTConnected event will see experts from BMW, Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover, Nissan and Volvo demonstrate connected car technologies. Features include:

  • Apps to link smartphones to cars
  • Self-parking systems
  • Anti-crash technology
  • ‘New era’ connected roads infrastructure
  • Car-to-car communications
  • Fully autonomous cars

Transport Minister Robert Goodwill said: “New technology is fundamental to government’s ambitious vision for our roads. That is why we are making huge investments to support innovation, including £19 million for real-world trials of driverless cars and £100 million to research autonomous vehicles, as recently announced in the Budget.

“Connected and autonomous cars will help us move towards a smart, safe, efficient and low-carbon future.”

Why is the UK leading the way?

The UK has a unique head-start over the rest of Europe because, years ago, we didn’t ratify the Vienna convention. This means that pilot tests of driverless cars can take place on our roads without the need for primary legislation.

This two-year advantage over the rest of Europe is already underway, too: driverless car trials have already begun in four UK cities.

Chancellor George Osborne has also since committed another £200 million of UK government cash for research, development and demonstration of autonomous driverless car technologies in the UK: he spoke to the SMMT in a video below.

John Leech, head of automotive at KPMG in the UK, said: “Our study has established that the UK is well-positioned to capitalise on the development and production of connected and autonomous cars.

“Not only will these developments help vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers, but they will bolster jobs, trade and productivity across the economy.”

We shouldn’t take any benefits for granted though, he warned. “This represents an important opportunity for the economy but one that requires continued focus and commitment from government and business.”