Research & reports

Title: Readiness of the road network for connected and autonomous vehicles

Organisation: RAC Foundation
Date uploaded: 26th April 2017
Date published/launched: April 2017

This report, commissioned by the RAC Foundation and authored by the consultancy group CAS, explores the readiness of the road network for connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).

It concludes that the UK’s road network will need to be maintained to a higher standard should autonomous vehicles become the norm, and suggests that potholes could prove dangerous on roads which carry a lot of self-driving vehicles, particularly those with a higher speed limit.

In his foreword for the report, Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said this conclusion ‘sits awkwardly’ with the current state of the UK’s roads.

The report also highlights the importance of maintaining road markings and signs to ensure that driverless vehicles are able to accurately ‘sense’ the road environment.

The report also considers the possibility of segregated infrastructure, including the construction of additional underpasses and bridges to separate different kinds of road users. However, it concludes that in the UK the cost of construction and the limited availability of land for separated infrastructure would almost certainly bring a halt to any schemes dependent on fully segregated infrastructure.

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