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Self-driving vehicles 'could save British economy billions', research suggests

Driverless cars
Driverless cars

Autonomous vehicles could save the British economy almost £23 billion in output lost to road traffic accidents.

New research suggests driverless tech could slash the bills associated with road prangs – from people having to take time off work through injury, to delays caused by accident snarl-ups, to higher insurance bills.

According to Global Positioning Specialists (GPS), a B2B comparison site for fleet management solutions, the UK loses over $28bn in gross domestic product to road accidents every year.

Britain ranks eighth among 73 nations, well behind the US at the top with a figure of $340bn. GPS says if all vehicles on Britain’s road were driverless, the amount of GDP lost could be reduced by over $25bn each year.

Top 20 Countries Where Driverless Tech Could Save Billions (Source:
Top 20 Countries Where Driverless Tech Could Save Billions (Source:

Lucile Michaut, head of GPS, said: “This research has two facets to it, on the one hand there is the amount of money which we spend on accidents each year, which in itself is interesting.

“Then you realise how many of these accidents could be avoided with new driverless technology. Governments will never spend on investing in things like this unless there is concrete evidence, but here we have proved there are strong economic reasons to invest in driverless technology, as well as the obvious improvement to public safety.”

GPS investigated the percentage of GDP lost to traffic accidents and combined this with the total GDP of each country as well as the the percentage that driverless tech could reduce traffic accidents to reveal the monetary impact that driverless technology could have on world economies.

The US topped the list of 73 countries, where over $340bn is lost to traffic accidents each year. If all vehicles in the US were driverless, the amount of GDP lost could be slashed by about $306bn, claimed GPS.

South Africa has the highest percentage of GDP lost to traffic accidents in the world (7.8%), but because of a much lower GDP, it ranked 13th, where driverless tech could have reduced lost GDP by over $21bn.

Driverless cars were tested on the streets of Britain for the first time in October last year. Carmakers Jaguar Land Rover and Ford are both part of autonomous vehicle projects in the UK.

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