Driverless Cars Tested For The First Time In The UK

The motoring industry has seen a tremendous change in the last 10 years or so, aside from the internal tech in a car, we have also seen the complete introduction of both battery powered and driverless cars. Within the last couple of weeks a fully driverless car has been tested on the streets of the UK in Milton Keynes. As its immense motoring news, we thought we would give a bit of insight and additional knowledge on the driverless car vision for the future.

Brands such as Jaguar, Uber, Ford, and even Tesla have jumped onto the wave, each with plans to mass-produce and officially launch their autonomous self-driving cars.

Early Tests

The model tested in the UK was a small two-seater car, to give you a sense of scale; it was roughly the same size as a smart car. Although it can only reach 15mph, it has to be said that there was still a sense of distrust in the vehicle. As a security measure, a steering wheel was present in the testing vehicle, just in case the operator needed to take control.

The test went fairly well, there were no major incidents, no one was injured, and most importantly the test car did not crash. However, the trial limited the vehicle to a set of pedestrian routes; therefore, it’s hard to say how well it would perform and navigate through busy city streets across England, and if it’s even capable of doing so.

Many see this moment as a pivotal cornerstone movement for Britain on their route to becoming leaders in driverless technology. Especially with the new Bill introduced, which has intent to reduce the red tape around new technology, allowing Britain to make strides in this industry. The Bill was announced in the Queen’s speech in May 2016.

It is not just independent and often small firms pledging their interest in these schemes, big businesses such as Jaguar and Ford are also thought to have added their contributions into the plans – this could mean big things for the future of driverless cars. As technology advances and tests get better, you will see cars with the capability of driverless journeys and applications – similar to those being used today.

Incredible Tech

Some of the technology involved with the development of driverless cars is truly incredible. The specific model tested required 18 months of planning, which included accurate virtual mapping of the entire route that the car went on. In this scenario, it was a relatively small area, however, to make this work efficiently there has to be support for much wider areas, potentially whole cities.

One unusual but obvious question surrounding the whole driverless cars sector, is how are they going to be covered by insurance? Surely it is too risky for an insurer to insure a vehicle that is driven by a robot and cameras? However, insurers such as the AA and RAC are also thought to be involved in a plan to make it possible for driverless cars to be on our roads as soon as 2020.

The future

In all, we have a lot to look forward to in the future, the development of driverless cars is sure to make our roads a much easier, more stress-free place. There are obvious hurdles that need to be conquered. Safety is one crucial issue that has created an impression of uncertainty in this area. Ever since companies such as Tesla have experienced crashes, people have judged future security and the potential of the driverless car. However, it seems that whether people like it or not it is going to move forward. We’re sure that by the time they are ready for motorways they will have been thoroughly tested!