• Categories:

    What are the main benefits that self-driving vehicles will deliver?

    The long-term benefits of automated transport systems are expected to be significant. Increased safety is one of the main factors, since human error is estimated to be responsible for more than 90% of today’s road accidents. Fully automated systems are also predicted to radically reduce the number of cars on the roads and produce cars that drive much more efficiently, leading to benefits for the environment as well as freeing up space currently used for parking. Once cars are able to drive without any human intervention at all, there will also be significant time savings as people are freed up from their hours currently spent at the wheel. Fully automated vehicles would also be accessible by people who cannot currently drive, for example due to age or disability.

    More
  • Categories:

    What effect will automated vehicles have on the economy? Won't they lead to job losses?

    As with the insurance sector, the arrival of fully automated vehicles is expected to have a disruptive effect on several industries and professions – including car manufacturers and professional drivers – but the scale of the impact will depend greatly on the extent and speed at which the technology is rolled out. Recent studies have also pointed out that the move towards fully automated vehicles is expected to create many additional jobs in several sectors either directly or indirectly related to this new technology.

    More
  • Categories:

    How will self-driving vehicles benefit disabled people?

    Once we get to the stage where vehicles are fully automated (without the need for any human driver), the benefits for disabled users should be massive. Those who cannot currently drive at all (including the blind and visually impaired) will be able to go wherever they want without having to rely on existing forms of public transport, taxis or lifts from friends and family, while those who currently rely on adapted vehicles will, in future, be able to use the same automated cars as everybody else. As well as disabled people, self-driving cars could be used by the elderly and anyone else who is currently unable or unwilling to drive.

    The pavement-based pod vehicles being used for UK Autodrive are being designed to allow wheelchair access, and will also include features to assist people with visual impairments.

    More
  • How will the footpath-based pods deal with blind pedestrians and wheelchair users?

    The pods being trialled in Milton Keynes will use their sensors to move out of the way of pedestrians or come to a gentle stop if their way is blocked. The pods have also been designed to emit a humming noise to alert pedestrians that they are coming.

    More
  • Will I be able to use a driverless car to get home if I have been out drinking?

    For the foreseeable future, “driverless” cars will still require the presence of a human passenger who is capable of taking back control of the vehicle if necessary. In the longer term, it is hoped that fully automated vehicles will be able to operate without any human assistance – potentially benefiting disabled users, those who are too young or too old to drive, and also those who find themselves over the drink-driving limit…

    More
  • Categories:

    What about people who enjoy driving? Will human drivers eventually be banned?

    There are no signs of humans being banned from driving anytime in the foreseeable future. In fact, the most immediate scenarios for automated driving are on single-direction highways and in traffic jams – when the driving experience is usually at its least enjoyable – leaving drivers free to still enjoy the pleasures of an open road. As we move towards fully automated systems, people are likely to be given the choice as to when they want to drive, and when they wish to let the car take the strain.

    More
  • Categories:

    When can I buy one?

    Cars are already available with increasing levels of automation, even if they only offer options such as parking assistance or adaptive cruise control. Putting an exact date on the arrival of highly- or fully-automated vehicles is difficult due to a number of remaining issues including technological readiness, legal frameworks, insurance, security and public acceptance. It also remains to be seen whether fully-automated vehicles will be “bought” by individuals or rather used on a book-when-needed basis.

    More
  • Categories:

    Wouldn't it be better to improve the public transport system (buses, trains etc.)?

    As mentioned elsewhere in these FAQs, self-driving vehicles should help to reduce our reliance on individually owned cars and should be seen as complementary to public transport – or even blurring the lines between private and public transport. Buses and trains will continue to be useful on popular routes and may themselves also operate increasingly without drivers. A truly efficient automated transport system would eventually link up bus and train networks with individual cars and pods – allowing people to move effortlessly wherever they want to go and regardless of the types of vehicle that get them there.

    More