Thought that self driven cars couldn’t be found outside of Transformers? Guess again as driverless cars are going to be tested on UK roads by the end of 2013.
The idea of robotic everything is a worrying one and while plenty of people hypothesised a future of hovercars and robot girlfriends, very few suggested that all of the electronics we know and love would be future-proofed as we’re seeing them today. We have contact lenses that give us bionic vision, we have adverts that are tailored to our very mood and high tech glasses that let us take photos, record video and even use apps, all from the comfort of a heads up display. As the battle for the boldest future tech rages on, prepare to see another competitor pull up to the battlefield as driverless cars are about to be brought to UK roads.
Set to be tested by a research team from Oxford University later this year, they’re putting the ‘driverless’ into ‘driverless car’ by using semi-autonomous technology that allows that car to assess its surroundings and make a judgement on how to drive. The cars are part of a £28 billion plan by the Department for Transport, a wing of the British Government, in an effort to cut down congestion on UK roads. In the report they posted, outlining their plans for all of that money, the DfT explained that the cars “maintain a safe distance from the vehicle in front at a set speed and without deviating from their lane – all without the driver’s input”, meaning that they are, for the most part, even safer than human driven cars.
Of course, safety is the main concern here but the tech behind the cars keeps fellow drivers safe by carrying human passengers, so should danger strike, the human charge can intervene and steer the car away from danger. However, as the cars are going to be tested on rural and suburban roads that don’t see much use, features such as the car’s ability to memorise regular drives, such as the daily commute, which it remembers using lasers and small cameras, will be perfectly safe for users.
For 2013, driverless cars are just being tested in the UK but as they’ve also received trials in the US, in Nevada, Florida and California, a driverless future can’t be too far off. We’ll keep you posted once we know more.