Driverless cars are set to be trialed on UK roads in four cities from January 1 and the latest step in the self-driving revolution could be autonomous machines that take children to school, claims the transport minister, Claire Perry.
Ms Perry has outlined a vision of a school run where parents wave off kids in driverless machines that can shuttle them from home to school and then back again at the end of the day. Despite the security concerns over the possibility of hacking, Ms Perry has urged the public not to think of driverless vehicles as “zombie robot taxis” but a useful time saving device along the lines of sat nav and parking sensors, reports the Telegraph.
We are short of capacity in terms of roads in this country, we are all short of time. Anything we can do to use capacity more intelligently and preserve safety and give people more time is a good thing.
The government is concerned over the possibility of cyber hacking, however, with the risk of online criminals hacking into systems that facilitate the use of autonomous vehicles being described as a key barrier to the mass use of self-driving cars. Consequently, significant security measures will be needed to manage such autonomous machines.
Ms Perry told the Transport Select Committee: “The challenge overall is more about cyber security. The more we are all dependent on cyber information to work out where we are to the road network, to have the road networks communicating that there is a particular breakdown and that is a huge challenge across government and society."
There is also an opportunity to use time and road capacity more effectively, Ms Perry added. “We are short of capacity in terms of roads in this country, we are all short of time. Anything we can do to use capacity more intelligently and preserve safety and give people more time is a good thing."
According to predictions from the Institution of Engineering and Technology there will be completely autonomous vehicles and self-driven cars on the roads within 15 years, transporting both goods and people around the road network.