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Old 03-08-14, 17:12   #1
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Oh Crap! UK 1st for Driverless Cars on Roads=$15mil Reward

Driverless Cars to Hit British Roads in Six Months' Time
-But it's a Long Road to Travel Before Safety Fears are Left Behind

Daily Mail UK, 3 August 2014

Driverless cars are set to hit British roads at the start of next year as the Government announced it will allow the first trials of vehicles that owners can sit in as passive passengers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable this morning said he was keen for Britain to become a pioneer in the technology. It comes after the Government pledged in the Autumn Statement last year to ensure Britain's ‘legislative and regulatory framework supports the world’s car companies to develop and test driverless cars in the UK.’

But despite the major boost for driverless technology, Britons it seems are not enamoured by the prospect. According to a new study from Churchill Car Insurance, 56 per cent of respondents said they would not purchase a computerised car while a quarter believe they will not be safe.

Driverless cars: The technology will be tested on British roads from next year

Malfunction is the biggest fear, with three in five of people fearing the computer may be unreliable in their autonomous vehicle.
More than half fear the lack of human control over the vehicle and a third fear cyber security problems such as hacking.

Nearly a third believe commuting times will increase, with only 17 per cent believing there will be a decrease.

Steve Barrett, head of Churchill Car Insurance, said: ‘Driverless cars have a long way to go before they win people’s confidence.

‘Education on issues such as safety standards, including computer ethics is needed, as well as a re-think on existing road rules and amendments to insurance regulation.

‘It is still early days however, so a certain amount of scepticism around such a significant development is to be expected. It is also still too early to be able to assess the implications a fully driverless car will have on insurance.’

AA president Edmund King said that a recent survey of more than 23,000 AA members showed 43 per cent did not agree that UK legislation should be amended to even allow trials of the technology.

UK Ministers have previously admitted the current Highway Code and rules of the road are inadequate for the new generation of vehicles which pilot themselves.

In the U.S. driverless cars are only allowed on roads in certain states if someone sits in the driver's seat.

The vehicles work by using GPS technology to locate the vehicle’s position on an electronic map.

In June, Google unveiled its computerised ‘hands-free’ self-driving bubble car, which has no steering wheel, brake or accelerator pedals.
Google plans to have prototypes ready to test later this summer and says the goal is for the car to ‘shoulder the entire burden of driving’.

Vince Cable: The Business Secretary wants Britain to be at the forefront of driverless technology

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: 'The excellence of our scientists and engineers has established the UK as pioneers in the development of driverless vehicles through pilot projects.

'Today’s announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society.'

He also announced that UK cities can now bid for a share of a 10million (US$15million), competition to host a driverless cars trial and up to three cities will be selected to host the trials from next year, as revealed in the Autumn Statement in December 2013.

Each project is expected to last between 18 and 36 months and start in January 2015.

Is Security a Threat to Driverless Cars?

Wil Rockall, director in KPMG’s cyber security team, said: 'There is no doubt that self-drive cars are going to become a reality. The technology is already available and, with test drives showing early signs of success, an unstoppable journey has started on what will become a well-travelled road.

'For all the positives, the industry will need to be very alert to the risk of cyber manipulation and attack.

'Self-drive cars will probably work through internet connectivity and, just as large volumes of electronic traffic can be routed to overwhelm websites, the opportunity for self-drive traffic being routed to create ‘spam jams’ or disruption is a very real prospect.

'Yet the industry takes safety and security incredibly seriously. Doubtless, overrides could be built in so that drivers could shut down many of the car’s capabilities if hacked. That way, humans will still be able to ensure their cars don’t route them on the road to nowhere.'


Comment by Lee Boyce

Job threat: Driverless cars would surely spell the death of traffic wardens

There are a number of jobs that would be at threat from driverless cars.

The obvious ones are lorry and taxi drivers - although it could be a long way in the future before driverless technology would be entrusted with heavy goods.

Driverless cars are programmed to obey the letters of the law, so traffic police and parking wardens would disappear, while a reduced need for parking spaces will result in less cash for councils and car-park operators.

People would no longer be in control of their vehicles meaning no need for insurance, putting a whole industry out of work.

However, it is not all doom and gloom. There would be no pesky wardens as mentioned above to catch you out, no speed camera fines and no more pricey car parks.

High street shops may benefit from free shuttle services. Traffic accidents would be a thing of the past – if the technology definitely worked – and the number of deaths on the road would plummet even further, putting less strain on the NHS.

Commuters would be able to rest and travel more comfortable while the car self-drives, the school run would be no more and the popularity of out-of-town pubs, which have suffered in recent years, could grow with the prospect of patrons not having to pay for a taxi home after a few tipples.

Like anything, there are pros and cons. The biggest con for me is driving, although sometimes tedious, should be fun. Driverless vehicles would be a sap on the enjoyment of driving.

Secondly, driving helps people stay alert – this would be another technological step of people becoming lazier, no doubt armed with a tablet computer to fritter away the time while the robot car does the hard work.

UK Chancellor Offers 10m Prize Fund for First Town Willing to Test Driverless Tech:

The Government have announced plans that it hopes will help put Britain at the forefront of driverless car technology.

It said it will, by the end of 2014, conduct a review to ensure Britain's ‘legislative and regulatory framework supports the world’s car companies to develop and test driverless cars in the UK.’

Furthermore, it will create a 10million prize fund for the first town or city to develop a test site for driverless cars.

Driverless technology: George Osborne wants Britain to become a hub for driverless car testing
Similar trials in other countries will see areas of public roads earmarked to accept the first driverless cars.

John Leech, KPMG’s head of automotive, said: ‘The focus on innovation by the government will help the UK lead in development of driverless cars.

‘Plans to review regulation and legislation that applies to the testing of driverless cars in the UK by global car manufacturers will push the UK as a key player in driverless car technology.’


The cars use sensors, cameras and GPS to analyse the traffic around them so they can navigate the roads – and other less diligent drivers – safely.

It comes after Volvo announced earlier in the week it was to introduce 100 driverless cars on public roads in Gothenburg, Sweden.

At the same time, US states California, Nevada and Florida have passed legislation to allow driverless cars on the road.

Car manufacturers believe that driverless cars could be on the roads by 2020 – with some saying it could be even quicker than that.

Google has set 2017 as the date its driverless vehicles will hit the road, while Tesla Motors has gone a step further and said it will have them ready by 2016.

Other manufacturers – including Daimler and Nissan – have given 2020 as the date for their models.

Research by UK Auto Express for This is Money earlier in the year found that almost half of motorists expect driverless motors to be a common feature on UK roads by 2023.

Driverless cars would result in a major reduction in accidents due to sensor technology and speed limit compliance. Experts predict it would also create up to five times more space on the roads.

However, with a reduced freedom of driving style, many motorists are likely to be apprehensive about the technology – while it could spell the end for thousands of taxi and lorry driving jobs.
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