Driverless vehicle in Staffordsire.
As driverless vehicles become more common it is believed they will impact on a number of policing areas, from collisions to pursuits.

Driveless vehicles: Staffordshire criminologist to work with Home Office to explore impact on policing 

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An expert from Keele University is set to liaise with the UK Home Office to study how the increasing numbers of intelligent and driverless vehicles will affect policing. 

Criminologist Dr Helen Wells will be funded by UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) for 18 months to explore new opportunities and challenges that Connected and Autonomous Vehicle use will present. 

Autonomous cars are steadily becoming more common – and this will impact on various areas of policing including collision investigation, pursuits, covert investigations and patrolling functions. 

Dr Wells, Senior Lecturer in Criminology whose research will begin in January 2024, has already hosted a high-level meeting to kickstart the collaborative project. 

The round table of 20 representatives from UK policing and its partners in the public and private sector took place at Keele and focused on understanding and planning for CAVs.   

Dr Wells’ work is being made possible thanks to a UKRI Policy Fellowship and builds on two decades of her previous focus on the policing of roads.  

She said: “This is a great opportunity to bring a social science – and specifically criminological – understanding to an area that is as much about people as it is about technology.  

“I’m delighted that the Home Office, and UKRI, have made this Fellowship possible and I can’t wait to get started.”  

Developers of self-driving cars use data from image recognition systems as well as machine learning and neural networks to build autonomous systems. 

Potential benefits include less room for human error and reduced traffic congestion, but there are unforeseen costs and consequences. 

Ron Quenby

Senior journalist with more than 25 years’ experience of working as a news reporter for provincial and national newspapers. Ron’s varied skills include feature writing, interviewing for real life stories and compiling specialist articles for in-house publications.

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