Driverless cars, or cars that drive themselves, are becoming a reality for UK citizens as the introduction for these technologically run vehicles has been set for January of 2015. That’s right, in January of next year driverless cars, which were previously only tested and allowed on private roads, will now be in trial period on public roads in the United Kingdom.
Originally UK’s Department of Transport had said that driverless cars would be running trials by the end of the year 2013. But concerns over the laws of the road and insurance practices caused them to step back and push the date farther. Now the United Kingdom is ready and willing to make driverless cars a possibility for auto users in the nation.
This possibility has been in progress for a long time. Since 2010 Google has been working on creating the “driverless car”, though the history of driverless research goes back much farther than that. It has been the hope of automakers since 1939 when the New York World’s Fair depicted a city with cars run by radio that they titled “Futurama”. The European Commission researched automated driving in the 1980’s and 1990’s. Even the Pentagon researched it in the 2000’s by running automated cars through tricky navigation courses.
Now driverless cars have moved from being a dream to a reality. Researchers initially stated that it would take them five years, from the year 2010, to have the autonomous driving system ready for the roads and behold five years later the system will be introduced to public roads. Researchers say that the already in place navigation systems have been a major addition to the research of driverless cars, allowing them to speed up the creation of the automated driving system. Cars will be able to detect roads, signs, and even other cars, as GPS did before. But how the introduction of these automated cars will go in the UK is anyone’s guess.
Since the announcement there has been a large amount of negativity over the subject. Many say that driverless cars could be dangerous for drivers on British roads, meaning more accidents next year. Even more negativity has been expressed by drivers in the U.S. who say that they do not think a car could make life saving, split-second decisions as well as a human could. But the fact is that most of the accidents that occur are caused by distracted drivers and despite the negative reactions the UK says driverless cars will become a reality in January.
Cars will be completely computer controlled and may even have systems installed that create connections, allowing one car to “speak” to another in order to avoid accidents or receive warnings about road and weather conditions ahead. Google researchers says that automated cars will help drivers to be more at ease at the wheel, as they can be distracted without worry of an accident, allowing them to focus on their kids, their food, their phones, or whatever other tasks they take on while behind the wheel. However, hands free driving will come at a price.
While the cars are expected to be priced above $150,000 or 90,000£ the cost of insurance for those who choose to let their cars drive could be significantly less. That all depends on whether these driverless cars really are as good as they are supposed to be. Supposedly driverless cars will keep passengers from being in accidents and make traveling much safer for anyone.
Secretary of State for Business, Innovation, and Skills, Vince Cable, says driverless cars will open up “new opportunities for [Britain’s] economy and society.” Though the credibility of these cars still remains to be unseen. Some carmakers are skeptical about putting a driverless car in their line of autos for fear of damaging their reputations or putting their clients in danger. But even without the current support of all auto brands, the reality of driverless cars will definitely be seen in January of 2015. Good luck to everyone on the roads in the United Kingdom!
Written by Crystal Boulware