The Transport Committee has published a report which sets out the pathway to getting self-driving vehicles onto UK roads. Read on to find out more.
- Lack of progress has bred public cynicism
- Small-scale schemes first
- Self-driving cars not likely for many years
- Road maintenance and better road markings crucial
- Changes to driving test and driver education proposed
- More work needed on legal, insurance and data issues
A new Transport Committee report has set out the pathway to self-driving vehicles, admitting that progress in recent years has failed to meet the bold predictions of advocates, leading to “understandable cynicism” from the wider public.
Finding that self-driving vehicles able to go anywhere at any time remain “purely hypothetical”,and “nobody is likely to be taking a self-driving vehicle the whole way from Lands End to John o’ Groats any time soon”, the report suggested driverless bus services in defined local areas could though become a reality “sooner rather than later”.
Safer than human drivers?
The report was critical of the presumption that autonomous driving will definitely be safer than human drivers, describing the view as “optimistic predictions often based on widespread self-driving vehicle usage that is decades away”. Before that, the transition where some cars are self-driving and others aren’t, mixing on the same roads, has the potential to be problematic.
It also flagged the problem that drivers will become less practised and less skilled as automation becomes more widespread, but will still need to step in at a moment’s notice if the technology suddenly fails. The committee called for the Government to set out a strategy for the future of human driving in a self-driving world, including possible changes to the driving test and finding ways to make sure all drivers fully understand self-driving vehicles and “acquire and maintain the necessary skills for taking control of a vehicle in all circumstances”.
Check out this video in which Mat Watson discusses all the pitfalls of self-driving cars…
Self-driving cars require well-maintained roads and especially road markings, as well as signage to help determine the road layout, but the Transport Committee was uncomplimentary in its view of Government efforts. While admitting some steps had been taken to smooth the path for autonomous vehicles, it said these preparations are “too siloed and divorced from broader planning”, rather than it being an “integral part of future infrastructure strategy”.
Fighting the law
The legal surroundings for self-driving vehicles are “archaic and limiting, especially concerning testing and legal liability”, according to the Transport Committee.The bad news is, there’s not yet a Government commitment to put a framework in place that will address key legal and policy issues such as access to data, legal liability, insurance and road worthiness.
“In principle, we welcome the introduction of self-driving vehicles, but the Government must take a cautious, gradual approach with the technology only introduced in well-defined and appropriate contexts,” concluded the report. “Without careful handling, self-driving vehicles could worsen congestion, and exacerbate existing inequalities in transport access.”
In short, the world of self-driving cars that can carry drivers across the country while they watch Netflix is still a long way away, but the Government now has its homework to do to lay the ground for the long road to self-driving.
Looking for an easy way to change your car? Then carwow is the place to go. You can sell your old car for a great price, and get the best deals on a new one. All through our network of trusted dealers and all from the comfort of your home. Tap the button below to get started today.