Driverless cars… on UK roads?

We’ve all heard about it and everyone has a different opinion but how will driverless cars change the roads in the UK?  The government want the UK to become a world leader in driverless technology; and although we appear to be a long way off, the reality is we’ve already seen self-drive pods being unveiled and tested in Milton Keynes and Coventry.

The government will provide £19m to launch four driverless car schemes in the UK and publish a code of practice which will allow the testing of autonomous cars to go ahead – altering the face of motoring as we see it today.

Whilst we expect technology to drive forward our future and enhance our roads and lifestyle, there are a number of other changes which will need to be reviewed to accommodate the driverless car:

 

  • Road regulation and the Highway Code
  • Car maintenance and MOT test guidelines
  • Driving tests
  • Insurance
  • Safety of drivers and pedestrians
 driverless car

 

We can rest assured safety will be of the highest importance, as we’ve always seen within the motoring industry – just take a look at the short timeline of car safety.

Car safety has been a pressing issue for manufacturers since the early 20th century and the latest technology will be no different.  We can be certain no risks will be taken when it comes to the drivers and pedestrians – take a look at some of the safety milestones from the motoring industry.

 

1930 Ford introduces, as standard, shatter-proof safety glass on all its vehicles – replacing ordinary window glass
1949 The American inventor Samuel W. Alderson creates Sierra Sam, the first ever crash test dummy
1951 The German engineer Walter Linderer files a patent on October 6th, 1951, for what will eventually be the world’s first airbag
1952 The Hungarian-Austrian engineer Béla Barényi, described as the father of passive safety technology in cars, develops the concept of the crumple zone at Mercedes-Benz
1958 The Road Research Laboratory, based in the UK, tests an anti-lock braking system (ABS) on a Royal Enfield Super Meteor motorcycle – although this had been developed earlier (1929) for the use in aircrafts
1959 The first car to be fitted with a 3-point seatbelt is Volvo’s 112
1969 Laws are introduced making head restraints mandatory in cars, many years after the concept was developed. Their purpose is to reduce the instance and severity of whiplash or injury to the neck and back through a collision
1987 Mercedes-Benz and BMW pilot the first traction control systems. Considered a secondary function to ABS, its purpose is to keep cars stable if a loss of control is detected
1996 Six years after Mercedes-Benz conducts research that finds 90 per cent of drivers fail to apply enough force to brakes in emergency situations, it launches the first ever brake assist system to make up for the human shortfall
2002 Lane departure warning systems make their car debut, after proving successful in commercial trucks and lorries. The technology alerts a driver, through the use of small cameras, that they are beginning to drift out of their lane
2013 Volvo develops highly-sophisticated pedestrian – and cycle – detection technology. This ground-breaking safety feature will, for example, sound warning lights if it detects a possible collision. It will also automatically deploy brakes

 



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