There’s always been something altogether futuristic about robotics. If anything, robots were the sign of advancement to the layman and in the eyes of science fiction. Having machines to do the menial tasks that we don’t want to is progress, and it goes on all around us every day.
The next step – admittedly scary to some – is self-driving cars. The sci-fi fantasy is soon becoming a reality, and we can expect things to motor on much more quickly in the New Year. Several UK cities have been earmarked for tests in January that will see trials take place.
Bristol, London, Coventry and Milton Keynes will play host to the early adaptations of driverless vehicles, with tests ranging from 18 months to three years throughout the locations. If all goes well, it’ll be the next step towards the real deal.
We’d all love some of the hard work taken out of our lifespan on the roads; passing the driving theory test, sitting through countless hours of lessons, and then of course the ultimate luxury which would be never having to manually drive your car ever again.
Each project will have a slightly different aim. London’s, taking place in Greenwich, is run by a company called Gateway, who will be testing automated shuttles and other features such as valet parking. Milton Keynes and Coventry fall under the Autodrive UK banner and will be testing driverless cars on the roads in order to learn more about their features and increase confidence in legislators as well as consumers.
Venture in Bristol will look to see whether they can have positive impacts on traffic and safety. All three live testing scenarios will go towards the greater goal or calculating the potential positives and negatives of unmanned road vehicles. Making the public more familiar with the process should help to quell some of the doubts that are being expressed.
Lawmakers in the USA are already doing their best to get ahead of the technology and have the correct legislation in place to deal with a potential influx of new vehicles. Many are confident that the self-driving vehicles can be much safer than humans, with all the bonuses of technology and without the pitfalls of a human body.
However, convincing people won’t be as simple as that. Only when they’ve had the chance to see it working first-hand in their own towns and cities will you see their cynicism turn in to trust.