Location data can help deliver the safe rollout of autonomous vehicles

New Geospatial Commission report highlights the role location data will have in the safe deployment of self-driving road vehicles

  • The connected and automated mobility (CAM) sector could be worth up to £42 billion, with the potential to generate 38,000 jobs
  • Connected, self-driving vehicles could reduce congestion and make our journeys safer and more efficient, and better serve those with accessibility needs
  • New report highlights the power of location data in the safe deployment of connected and self-driving road vehicles, and the steps needed to maximise the opportunity

The Geospatial Commission has today (18 October 2023) published a report that highlights the important role location data and technologies will play in enabling the safe deployment of connected and self-driving vehicles on the UK’s roads.

By 2035, 40 per cent of cars in the UK could have self-driving capabilities. The self-driving market in the UK could be worth as much as £42 billion by 2035, creating up to 38,000 new jobs. Vehicles will rely on location data to know where they are in relation to their surroundings, including the kerbside, other vehicles and pedestrians. Innovative location technologies could enable vehicles to communicate with other road users and smart infrastructure, improving traffic flow and congestion as well as making it safer and easier for drivers. Location data and technology will have a key role in the sector, but there are challenges around data discoverability, accessibility and quality. 

This report sets out what is already being done to meet these opportunities and challenges and some of the action areas for government, academia and industry to improve the quality and breadth of location data. It identifies that the sector should:

  • improve the understanding of the road environment by addressing key location data gaps
  • improve how location data and location technologies can work together by defining accuracy standards
  • improve data sharing practices to make connected vehicles’ data more accessible and reusable

Steve Unger, Independent Commissioner at the Geospatial Commission, said:

"Connected and self-driving vehicles will revolutionise how we travel. They will make our roads safer, by eliminating avoidable accidents, and they will improve both efficiency and quality of life, through more effective management of congestion. 

"They are made possible by technological advances in various areas, such as sensor technology and artificial intelligence, but the practical application of these new technologies depends critically on access to location data. Detailed mapping of the street environment, in a form that is readily discoverable, easily accessible, and of high quality, will be key to realising the potential benefits."

Department for Science, Innovation and Technology
Geospatial Commission