California: Tesla driver naps at the wheel of ‘self-driving’ car
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Ministers said the research within the inquiry would include the performance of self-driving vehicles in poor weather conditions as well as their interaction with other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians. But a new poll of Express.co.uk readers has found a lack of support for the scheme, with the prospect roundly rejected.
Ministers have said that the move to introduce such legislation would enable the nation to take advantage of new technologies and exploit new markets.
The autonomous vehicle industry is estimated to be worth £42billion and could create up to 38,000 jobs.
Head of roads policy at the RAC, Nicholas Lyes, said: “While self-driving cars offer the potential to make our roads safer and increase mobility for those who can’t currently drive, the jump from driver assistance to fully autonomous remains fraught with risks, so it is welcome news the Government is backing ambitious targets with more funding.
“RAC research also shows drivers like to be in control of their vehicle, so it would require a real culture change for the public to fully embrace driverless technology.”
In a poll that ran from 5pm on Wednesday, October 26, to 12:30pm on Wednesday, November 2, Express.co.uk asked readers: “Should self-driving cars be approved on UK roads by 2025?”
In total 1,081 votes were cast with the vast majority of readers, 93 percent (1,000 people), answering “no” against the approval of self-driving cars.
A further six percent (68 people) said “yes” self-driving cars should be approved, while one percent (13 people) said they did not know.
In the comments left below the accompanying article readers shared their thoughts on the safety of self-driving cars.
Many readers argued against self-driving cars being allowed on UK roads, with username Walesdad describing the concept as “madness”.
Username johnmac said: “Driverless cars are nothing but fantasy. They are not safe, will never be safe, and as long as we have health and safety, there is absolutely no way there will ever be driverless or fully autonomous cars on UK roads, or indeed any roads.”
And username skygazer wrote: “You have to wonder at the idiots who come up with these ideas.”
Meanwhile, others argued that if self-driving cars were permitted the infrastructure of Britain’s roads would need to be overhauled.
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Username QuadQ said: “Yes definitely, far safer than human drivers but none of this will work without a massive upgrade to the electric system and generation.”
And username skipper said: “The only way it would work would be if manual driving was banned, and all cars were self-drive, therefore playing to exactly the same rules.”
Fully-driverless cars are not legally permitted on UK roads but several manufacturers are introducing autonomous features into vehicles now. This includes features such as cruise control, lane assistance and the ability to identify speed limits.
Last week a Parliamentary select committee on transport met to further discuss the potential of self-driving vehicles in the UK.
Professor Nick Reed raised some of the challenges facing self-driving vehicles joining the road. He explained: “The infinite variability of the environment is the challenge so the unpredictability of the behaviours of others. So ensuring that a vehicle is capable of responding safely to those unpredictable scenarios is vital.”
Meanwhile, senior technology and innovation manager for the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders David Wong highlighted the social perception of self-driving cars.
He said: “Perhaps the slightly more challenging barrier is actually social attitudes and how people behave when they see automated vehicles.”
Automated vehicles are expected to make up 40 percent of the 40.5 million cars on UK roads by 2035. Manufacturer Tesla claims that their self-driving models are four times better than normal cars with just one fatality estimated for every 320 million miles driven in auto-pilot mode.
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