Driverless cars to hit UK roads in four years
Phillip Hammond, the UK Chancellor says the government is looking towards having a driverless car without human element on board to monitor its activities by 2021.
Although the chancellor is yet to use a driverless car, he says that making this a reality in the UK will set the country to lead the next industrial revolution. The announcement will be made on Wednesday as a prerequisite for the developers to be granted permission to test run the cars on UK roads.
On the issue of loss of driver-jobs, he emphasised that change is constant and that the people must embrace these technologies for the country to progress. He says further that the government will equip people with the skills to fit into new careers.
This public announcement is coming after Jaguar Land Rover, UK’s biggest car manufacturer started testing driverless cars on public roads. While human elements were on board to attend to emergencies, the driverless cars were tested to determine their reaction to traffic, pedestrians, and signals via a sensor.
Although critics have warned that the time is not mature for driverless cars to be on the road autonomously, these cars will have no humans on board when they are in full operation anyway, and there is no guarantee of a complete safety. As you know, there could be a case of a ‘technology gone wrong’ and without a human element to attend at that time, it could be a disastrous episode.
You will recall that a driverless truck on its first day at service had a crash in the US. Jeremy Clarkson, a Grand Tour Presenter also shared a personal incident of how he nearly got killed in a self-driving car which made two mistakes. In his words, technology is still far from achieving this feat.
Notably, this package or objective includes £75m for research on, artificial intelligence, £100m for 8000 computer science teachers’ training, £160m for the new 5G mobile phone networks to provide network needed for the self-drive cars and £76 to enhance digital and construction skills.
Allowing driverless cars to become fully autonomous means nobody will be on board, assigned to take over in a case of emergency. It also means that the car should be designed to detect an atrocious weather, type of road and time of the day. Getting the technology to accommodate all these may take a pretty long while to avoid things getting so messy.