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Queen’s Speech: Driverless cars, drones and spaceports on transport agenda

The Queen sets out the government's agenda for the coming session.
The Queen sets out the government's agenda for the coming session.

Driverless cars, drones and a commercial spaceport all featured in the Queen’s Speech.

Over the next 12 months the Government will bid to ensure the UK is “at the forefront of technology” with its proposals for a Modern Transport Bill.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MClxCXtcrmI

It hopes to reduce congestion and make “more efficient use of our roads, railways and airspace” to boost the economy.

Ministers claim the Bill will make the UK a world leader for autonomous and driverless vehicle ownership.

It aims to encourage investment in the technology and ensure appropriate insurance is available to support the use of such vehicles.

RETRANSMITTED CORRECTING NAME OF COACH The Diamond Jubilee state coach transporting Queen Elizabeth II passes Canada Gate as she leaves Buckingham Palace, London, ahead of the State Opening of Parliament. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 18, 2016. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire
The Diamond Jubilee state coach transporting the Queen to the State Opening of Parliament.

James Dalton, director of general insurance policy at the Association of British Insurers, said: “Insurers are already working on how to shape the right framework to keep insurance as simple and straightforward as possible for the future of driving.

“The transition from conventional vehicles to a world where drivers become passengers will be the trickiest stage but insurers are committed to supporting the roll-out of this important technology.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C8_BFgetRIo

Trials of automated and driverless cars are currently taking place in Bristol, Greenwich, Milton Keynes and Coventry.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh proceed through the Royal Gallery ahead of the State Opening of Parliament, in the House of Lords at the Palace of Westminster in London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Wednesday May 18, 2016. See PA story POLITICS Speech. Photo credit should read: Toby Melville/PA Wire
The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh proceed through the Royal Gallery.

The Bill also features proposals to ensure the safe use of technology in the drone, autonomous car and space industries.

There have been dozens of reports of near misses involving drones and airliners near airports in recent months, leading to calls for unmanned aircraft to be licensed.

Last month a drone was believed to have collided with a British Airways flight landing at Heathrow, although it later emerged it may have been a false alarm.

LONDON, ENGLAND - MAY 18: Prime Minister David Cameron (R) and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn (R) walk to the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament at the Palace of Westminster on May 18, 2016 in London, England. The State Opening of Parliament is the formal start of the parliamentary year. This year's Queen's Speech, setting out the government's agenda for the coming session, is expected to outline policy on prison reform, tuition fee rises and reveal the potential site of a UK spaceport. (Photo by Stefan Wermuth - WPA Pool/Getty Images)
Prime Minister David Cameron and Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn walk to the House of Lords for the State Opening of Parliament.

A study by research firm the Teal Group estimated that drone production will soar from the current level of £2.8 billion annually to £9.7 billion, totalling £65 billion in the next 10 years. Military drone research would boost this figure to £85 billion over the decade.

The Government is aiming to have an operational spaceport by 2018, which could be used to launch tourists into space as well as commercial satellites.

In March last year six possible locations were announced.

They are Campbeltown, Argyll and Bute, Glasgow Prestwick in South Ayrshire and Stornoway on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland, as well as Newquay in Cornwall and Llanbedr in North Wales.

RAF Leuchars in Fife was also confirmed as a potential temporary facility.

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