Queen’s Speech: UK targets digital economy, driverless cars
Queen’s Speech: UK targets digital economy, driverless cars
Queen’s Speech: UK targets digital economy, driverless cars

Queen’s Speech: UK targets digital economy, driverless cars

Queen Elizabeth II today outlined the UK government’s plans for the next year in the House of Commons. The address highlighted the country’s bid to become a major player in the digital world and in the development of driverless cars.

In her annual address, which was prepared by Cabinet ministers, the Queen promised that the UK government would increase its investments in digital infrastructure – a positive news for broadband roll-out – as well as driverless cars.


Measures will be brought forward to create the right for every household to access high-speed broadband,” she said, highlighting the introduction of the Digital Economy Bill.

“Legislation will be introduced to improve Britain’s competitiveness and make the United Kingdom a world leader in the digital economy.”

The Queen then went onto introduce the Modern Transport Bill, which will see the UK accelerate the development of driverless or autonomous cars.

“My ministers will ensure the United Kingdom is at the forefront of technology for new forms of transport, including autonomous and electric vehicles.”

The Digital Economy Bill will see the government focus on building “world-class” digital infrastructure, including fast broadband and mobile networks, supporting new digital industries and reforming the way government uses data to deliver public services.

Alison Vincent, CTO of Cisco UKI, said that the Digital Economy Bill is a ‘clear reflection’ of the government’s aim to build a digital future for all.

“Digitisation is reshaping businesses and transforming the way we live, work, play and learn. The Digital Economy Bill and the resulting measures announced by the Queen today are a clear reflection of Britain’s commitment to a digital future and emphasise a continued drive towards establishing the UK as a digital world leader.

[We estimate that] 40 percent of companies are at risk of being displaced by digital disruption by 2020. Therefore, having access to infrastructure and reliable connectivity is now fundamental for all businesses to remain competitive. Going forward, investment in infrastructure will be crucial to support the development of digital industries and promote digital inclusion from the boardroom right through to the classroom, while also positioning UK businesses to attract and retain top talent.

“By laying the foundations and establishing broadband as an essential pillar to the future of the UK economy, businesses will be able to drive innovation and build a framework that will improve productivity, fuel collaboration, capitalise of business opportunity and accelerate the UK digital economy.”

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Driverless cars both an opportunity and risk

Paul Scarrott, director at Nimble Storage, told press that driverless car is a huge opportunity for the UK and its economy.

“The driverless car market is growing at a staggering rate,” he said, citing the Boston Consulting Group projecting that it will be worth $42 billion (£28.75 billion) by 2025.

“It’s great to see the government’s efforts to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of this industry – both in support for manufacturers and with today’s announcement that driverless cars will be insurable under ordinary policies.

“However, as the government looks at how to position the UK on the cusp of this automotive revolution, it is important that considerations are taken beyond the traditional car infrastructure.

“Unlike ordinary vehicles, driverless cars not only rely on roads, signs, traffic lights etc. An extraordinary amount of digital infrastructure is needed to store the data generated by the vehicles. Indeed, Tesla’s fleet of cars records 1.5 million miles’ worth of data every single day. With this already mammoth amount of data set to increase rapidly as driverless cars become more popular, it’s important that greater consideration is given to how and where this data will be stored and shared, especially with the GDPR and Privacy Shield on the horizon.”

In an email to Internet of Business, Gordon Morrison, director of government relations at Intel Security, touched on the security concerns around driverless cars, which continue to be tested around the UK.

“Today’s announcement around driverless cars is a clear example of where the government is actively pursuing cutting-edge technologies that will not only support our economy, but also position the UK as a global leader in transport technology.

“However, it is crucial that in its pursuit of innovation, the government doesn’t neglect the security essentials which will guarantee not only the success of these new technologies, but also the safety of its users. With security researchers demonstrating the potential for hacking driverless cars, for example when a Jeep was remotely stopped on an American highway, the government must ensure that, as part of its innovative work with the automotive industry, cyber security remains a top priority.”

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