The government-backed Autodrive initiative is measuring public perception to driverless tech; it's working with Jaguar Land Rover, Tata and Ford
Jim Holder
27 October 2016

Ingrained attitudes of motorists will be harder to overcome than the technical challenges of creating autonomous and connected cars, according to Tim Armitage who heads up a government and industry-backed £20m initiative into the technology.

The initiative - called Autodrive - is co-ordinating efforts from firms including Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), Tata and Ford, plus research organisations including the universities of Oxford and Cambridge. By 2018 it has pledged to have a small fleet of fully autonomous cars on 41 miles of the roads of its partner cities Coventry and Milton Keynes.

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“The technology is evolving, and step-by-step a clearer path to autonomous and connected cars is evolving,” said Armitage. “However, while it’s easier to understand how a world with all autonomous and digital cars could work, and the road safety benefits from that, the path to that position is less easy to understand.

“That’s why Autodrive’s work will include some attitudinal surveys - we want to measure public perception and plot how it changes. Today it isn’t even clear what autonomous means and there are clearly challenges ahead - one death in a self-driving car has already generated more headlines than hundreds that occur every day on our roads. Changing public and press perceptions is going to be a huge challenge.”

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Armitage’s comments were made during a demonstration event at the MIRA proving ground where systems were shown that communicate with traffic lights to advise the driver, or the car, which speed to travel at to minimise the number of red lights the car must wait at. Ford claims the average daily driver spends two days per year waiting at traffic lights.

Jaguar Land Rover’s technologies include semi-autonomous systems, such as Advanced Highway Assist – a system that allows hands-free and pedal-free driving while the car is able to overtake vehicles safely and automatically on the motorway.

Another system showcased was Electronic Emergency Brake Light Assist, which is an extension of autonomous emergency braking. The system warns the driver of any heavy braking performed by the car in front. This is especially useful when driving in fog or at any other time when the car in front, for whatever reason, is hard to see. The system can detect other cars at a distance of up to 500 metres.

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Comments
16

27 October 2016
The problem will be in the period of change when you have a mix of autonomous cars with ordinary ones. Also it is more fundamental in terms of freedom of the individual. Yes it would be nice to be driven long distance but you still have to be behind the wheel and able to take control so you're not exactly relaxing.
I think most folk will take it as they have zero interest in cars and driving. Myself no thanks I like the skill that is driving.

27 October 2016
Making an autonomous car that can go from A-to-B via the elephant and castle without crashing for less than £50,000 will be the problem.

I understand that tech. exists at the moment for that car to keep BELOW the speed limit at all times though! That'll be popular NOT!

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

27 October 2016
People always resist new things. But then they start to see the advantages, and the list of advantages for autonomous cars is huge. The proponents will need to have huge patience to overcome the reactionaries, especially when people die in crashes involving autonous cars, which they will. But deaths from road accidents are going up again now despite massively better car safety. Taking human drivers out of the equation is the only way to reverse that.

27 October 2016
androo wrote:

People always resist new things. But then they start to see the advantages, and the list of advantages for autonomous cars is huge. The proponents will need to have huge patience to overcome the reactionaries, especially when people die in crashes involving autonous cars, which they will. But deaths from road accidents are going up again now despite massively better car safety. Taking human drivers out of the equation is the only way to reverse that.

I cannot see any advantage in having an autonomous car. A human occupant will still be held liable for anything going wrong and need to concentrate upon what the vehicle is doing.
Exactly what do the proponents of autonomous cars think will be a benefit of this technology?
It would be far simpler to develop autonomous journalists or indeed any other office job than to have millions of cars working arpund pedestrians, cyclists, horses and other animals on the road let alone things like fallen branches, rocks, etc.

27 October 2016
I question this statement, is it possible that as more and more people in the developing world buy cars which don't have the safety kit fitted we have that the numbers of fatalities are rising globally. Another factor may be the number of people who think that owning a smart phone actually makes them smart, when its plain for all to see is that driving while texting or walking in the path of a vehicle while paying more attention to facebook is not that smart.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

27 October 2016
of the price, I mean. We still don't know whether these things will be really, really expensive - providing a much-needed new way for people to show-off - or really cheap, thereby persuading people who don't really like the idea that they can't afford not to have one.

I'm guessing the former, and just as now - where millions of people who can't really afford an iPhone and don't need anywhere near its full functionality will buy another one the minute it appears - punters will eventually be shuffled into something they can't afford and get used to paying for it three times over.

27 October 2016
The biggest hurdle to any change is people! Sadly just one death in an autonomous car will make headline news but not the 1.25 million killed annually globally at the moment by other humans!!

 

 

 

27 October 2016
I do see the advantages that could be available, should you be unfortunate enough to fall unconscious at the wheel or be drowsy and fall asleep.This would save lives, but at the end of the day, most people enjoy driving.So I to sum up, like the idea of an automous back up but would not like to be driven by one full time.There will be loads of drunks at Xmas time though would like to save on a taxi fare.

27 October 2016
The general public won't even know what is being done to them, after all the adverts, marketing & PR guff they will come out the other end believing that they actually want this stuff in their cars and yes they will be the ones that pay for it. Just like the £20m that went into this project. We are going to be told we can't carry on driving the way we do and in the interest of safety all our cars need to be constantly connected, constantly reading its environment, constantly tweeting its GPS coordinates, constantly listening to your conversation just incase you need to give a command. Make no mistake this isn't something that you want, this is what your government wants. This is just the surveillance state taking things up a gear now they have installed cameras on every street that can read your number plate (all to save you the bother of putting a tax disc in your windscreen). As the article states "changing public and press perceptions is going to be a huge challenge" now the press will just print what is fed to them without questioning the real motives or doing any real journalism, no problem there, the challenge will be overcoming public attitudes and for that they may need to build some correction facilities soviet style.

 Offence can only be taken not given- so give it back!

27 October 2016
The key to acceptance is gradual change - as Tesla is already doing including the tech in all its cars as standard so customers that want to can use it, and those that don't can at least try it out occasionally. Once the luxury cars all have it as standard then the tech will become cheaper and better and if good enough will filter down to the mainstream, like any other tech. Once a customer can get used to taking their hands off the wheel on motorways and realises how much easier it makes their life then they will start asking why cant I do this all the time, the demand will increase and the road network will start being adapted for the cars requirements rather than the other way around.
This may finally lead to a more proper separation between car, cyclist and pedestrian rather than the poorly organised free-for-all grab your space on the tarmac we have at the moment that leads to so many road deaths.

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