UK leads the way in cybersecurity and policy for autonomous vehicles, but infrastructure improvements needed – KPMG

UK leads the way in cybersecurity and policy

The UK remains among the world’s top ten most advanced autonomous vehicle (AV) markets, supported by an innovative regulatory environment, funding for cybersecurity initiatives, and test beds, according to research by KPMG.


Also on

  • UK tops the board for cybersecurity for autonomous vehicles (AVs), moving up two places in ranking for technology and innovation
  • Developments in policy and legislation remain a key strength in the UK’s approach to AVs
  • But danger of falling further behind with physical and digital infrastructure developments as other countries advance

The UK remains among the world’s top ten most advanced autonomous vehicle (AV) markets, supported by an innovative regulatory environment, funding for cybersecurity initiatives, and test beds, according to research by KPMG.

In making progress towards supporting the adoption of autonomous vehicle technology, the professional services firm’s latest Autonomous Vehicle Readiness Index (AVRI) ranks the UK in ninth position. Compared to last year’s ranking, the UK has slipped two places, with South Korea and the United Arab Emirates inching ahead due to planned infrastructure investments. For the third year running Singapore and the Netherlands lead the rankings, but the UK still stands ahead of Germany, Japan and new entrant Denmark, among others.

UK remains a leader in autonomous vehicle policy

“Despite dropping two places, the UK continues to be a leader in autonomous vehicle legislation and policy, and has made notable progress to ensure that the regulatory environment will enable autonomous vehicle implementation. There’s real recognition for the work the Government has done around policy and legislation, notably through the Future of Transport Regulatory Review, as well as Zenzic’s work in cybersecurity and on test beds.” Said Sarah Owen-Vandersluis, Partner and Head of Future Mobility at KPMG UK.

The UK scored second to Singapore in the index for policy and legislation due to its continued and coordinated focus. An example of this is the consultation the Government recently ran as part of its Future of Transport Regulatory Review, asking for evidence and views on micro-mobility vehicles, flexible bus services and mobility as a service (MaaS). Test facilities have also bolstered the UK’s standing, with Government and industry having invested almost £200 million in six test facilities for autonomous vehicles in south-east and central England, known as TestBed UK.

Cybersecurity shifts up a gear, but digital connectivity needs more to compete

Within the technology and innovation pillar, the UK moved up the ranks by two, to ninth position overall, and took the top spot for cybersecurity. Earlier this year, Zenzic awarded £1.2 million in funding from a competition focused on cyber security in self-driving vehicles, with the winners helping to define requirements for and support the development of cyber security testing facilities. But, as tech and innovation for autonomous vehicles advances, is enough being done to make sure the UK can compete on the global stage?

Ben Foulser, Director of Future Mobility at KPMG UK, commented: “Cybersecurity has been a hot topic for several years now, and the UK is really paving the way in setting the standard, with a number of projects underway across the country to develop cyber security solutions for connected and autonomous vehicles.

“However, whilst a number of promising developments are bringing autonomous vehicles closer to reality, there are also some important challenges which need solutions, particularly around digital connectivity.”

More focus on infrastructure investment required

With infrastructure generally taking time to develop, some of the challenges recognised for the UK in last year’s index remain the same, particularly around digital and physical infrastructure. However, a number of countries have moved ahead, through early activity in infrastructure generally in South Korea, and advancements in tech infrastructure specifically in the United Arab Emirates.

Sarah Owen-Vandersluis explained: “To be truly ready for autonomous vehicles, the UK first needs to be ready for electric vehicles, with adequate provision of EV charging infrastructure, which many local governments are already focused on. This is a critical element as the availability of EV charging infrastructure is an indicator as to how likely the market is to adopt new technologies like autonomous vehicles.

“There are also physical and commercial challenges to consider, whether it be a lack of power supply, lack of grid coverage or the need for a more viable business model, as these have historically prevented certain areas from having the necessary infrastructure. If the current road networks are to be significantly enhanced and managed in an entirely different way than ever before, a fundamental shift needs to take place and planning for that needs to start now.”

Ben Foulser added: “For the UK to remain competitive in an increasingly 5G-ready world, there needs to be not only clear recognition of the need to invest, but action. The question of where that investment comes from remains to be seen, but without it, the UK will fall further behind its competitors.”

Consumer opinion stutters as UK drops two places

In this year’s study, South Korea and Australia, have overtaken the UK on customer acceptance and both countries have also made strides forward with infrastructure. So how can the UK regain some momentum and positively influence consumer attitudes to ensure all in society can reap the benefits?

 “Within our analysis, consumer acceptance was measured by how tech-savvy a population is, which is influenced by both the availability of infrastructure and also the demographic structure. So there’s an expectation that, assuming the same level of infrastructure, consumers in countries with a younger demographic will be more likely to adopt new technologies than those with more senior citizens. To combat this, governments will need to implement measures to ensure that new technologies, such as 5G and autonomous vehicles, will benefit all age groups.

“Ultimately, without being at the forefront of AV development and implementation, Britain is at risk of falling behind as a leading country in which to develop, trial, and scale AVs and associated business models and solutions. The UK has great potential to cement its position and compete on the global stage, but for this to become a reality, then action must be taken and investment secured, and sooner, rather than later.” concluded Sarah Owen-Vandersluis.

Access the full report at



Notes to editor:

For media enquiries, please contact:
Jo Chileshe, KPMG Corporate Communications
T: 07919 211 803


KPMG Press Office: T: +44 (0) 207 694 8773


About the Autonomous Vehicle Readiness Index report

The Autonomous Vehicles Readiness Index (AVRI) is intended to provide an understanding of various countries’ preparedness and openness to AV technology. Thirty countries were included in the AVRI based on economic size and progress in adopting autonomous vehicles. Countries are assessed on 28 different measures within four pillars: policy & legislation; technology & innovation; infrastructure; and consumer acceptance. Each pillar has equal weight in calculating a country’s overall score and consists of a combination of primary and secondary data.

According to the AVRI, the countries and jurisdictions best positioned to propel the future of autonomous transportation of those researched are:

 Singapore   Sweden
 The Netherlands   South Korea
 Norway  United Arab Emirates 
 United States  United Kingdom
 Finland  Denmark

(The 2020 AVRI ranks five new countries and jurisdictions in the Index: Belgium (21), Chile (27), Denmark (10), Italy (24) and Taiwan (13))

About KPMG’s Future Mobility team

KPMG’s Future Mobility team advises the world’s leading transport authorities, operators, and government on connected, autonomous, and zero emission mobility, demand responsive mobility, and mobility as a service. The team includes 20 mobility specialists whose expertise spans strategy, policy, target operating model, change & investment portfolio, and business case development


About KPMG International
KPMG is a global network of professional services firms providing Audit, Tax and Advisory services. We operate in 147 countries and territories and have 219,000 people working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity. Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.


 KPMG LLP, a UK limited liability partnership, operates from 22 offices across the UK with approximately 17,600 partners and staff.  The UK firm recorded a revenue of £2.40 billion in the year ended 30 September 2019. KPMG is a global network of professional firms providing Audit, Tax, and Advisory services. It operates in 154 countries and has 200,000 professionals working in member firms around the world. The independent member firms of the KPMG network are affiliated with KPMG International Cooperative ("KPMG International"), a Swiss entity.  Each KPMG firm is a legally distinct and separate entity and describes itself as such.

© 2021 KPMG LLP a UK limited liability partnership and a member firm of the KPMG global organisation of independent member firms affiliated with KPMG International Limited, a private English company limited by guarantee. All rights reserved.

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