Future now: driverless cars and the revolution coming to the UK
Separate analysis of the possibilities facing us in a world of driverless cars reveals a world dramatically changed.
The government has announced Britain will be at the forefront of the driverless car revolution- and by 2025 this means we could see driverless cars built by companies like Google, Apple and Tesla regularly on our roads. Cars fully connected to one another and the transport infrastructure, running off live updates on traffic and road conditions, backed up by a host of radar and sensor units, will forever change not just how we travel but how we live. Here are some predictions expected to come to pass once cars can work without a pair of hands on the wheel:
No more car parks
Cars will freely circulate ring roads as drivers- or should that be passengers- can simply hop out when needed and leave them roaming. Car parks will become redundant and, commanding attractive city centre locations, councils will quickly cave in to removing them and converting them to residential property. In fifty years we could be living in converted multi stories. Similarly, road space will be freed up as roadside parking becomes a think of the past- meaning wider roads, smoother traffic flow and less congestion.
Hackers & pranksters will be in heaven
What if you could take control of someone’s car remotely? Already we’re seeing on-board computers being hacked and compromised, yet in a world filled with driverless cars we could see serious risks from remote hackers. Equally, what could you get away with if you knew cars were programmed not to hit you? Removing driver error could mean a scenario where simply strolling into traffic or even playing ‘chicken’ with cars- watching them swerve to avoid a collision. Naturally these safety concerns will need to be eliminated in large part before driverless cars go mainstream- but with a relentless focus on safety and the typical hostility new technology meets in its early days, we’ll undoubtedly be hearing about it for a long time to come.
Insurance costs will plummet
What if your car’s safety features were as advanced as the latest aircraft? Human error is a factor in 90% of accidents- so expect insurance claims to fall, and costs too. Accidents themselves will fall to almost nothing and A&E departments will have far fewer patients- definitely a good thing.
No more legal limits
You will be able to drink and drive- though whether the law will change to reflect this remains to be seen. This could mean a boom in pubs, clubs and other recreation as we go from a nation of designated drivers to party animals.
No more public transport
Public transport is a hassle at the best of times- yet with reduced congestion and automatic driving, people will be much more likely to opt for the personal space of a car than a sweaty bus or overcrowded train carriage.
The old ways will never quite die
Driving is a thrill some people won’t be able to shake that easily. Whether ‘vintage’ cars will be compatible with the new world is unclear, yet we can certainly expect an increase in recreational driving and amateur racing.
Whether or not driverless cars are as close as some expect, it’s clear that this is something that’s getting closer- and bringing with it a very different world.