Safety of self-driving cars doubted – ‘Glitches could kill somebody!’

Royal Air Force trial the use of self-driving cars

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The Transport Select Committee launched an inquiry last month into the development and deployment of self-driving vehicles. They will investigate the safety of autonomous vehicles and consider their relationship with other road users including conventional vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists.

The committee will also assess the progress of research and trials into autonomous and connected vehicles in the UK to determine how they can become commonplace.

A regulatory framework for self-driving cars is expected to be introduced by 2025.

As a result, Express.co.uk asked readers if they trusted self-driving vehicles.

In a poll that ran from 1pm on Tuesday, June 28 to 11am on Friday,  July 1, Express.co.uk asked: “Do you trust self-driving cars?” 

A total of 2,131 people responded with a strong majority, 94 percent (2,013 people) answering “no” they do not trust self-driving cars. 

However, four percent (76 people) said “yes” they do trust them, while just two percent (42 people) said they did not know. 

In the comments below the accompanying article, readers debated the safety of autonomous vehicles.

Most were against them as they felt they could not trust the technology.

Username RichieVR46 said: “I would never trust driverless cars on the road.” 

Another username, TarquinFarquar, said: “I’ve worked around machinery all my working life. They need constant supervision in case anything goes wrong as it usually does eventually.” 

Username Backfire wrote: “Would I trust one? Not in a million years. If my smartphone or computer has a glitch (which they do daily) it’s a minor annoyance. If an autonomous car does the same, it could kill somebody.”

And username Tezzer2 said: “The greater the complexity of the system the more probable there will be a failure! 

“So, when considering how artificial intelligence  in autonomous Cars is still relatively in its infancy, and given the track record to date, my answer is a RESOUNDING NO!”

Fully self-driving cars are not yet legally permitted on UK roads, but manufacturers are developing autonomous features such as assisted parking and lane control.

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In April, the Department for Transport proposed changes to the Highway Code to allow users of driverless vehicles to watch television programmes and films on in-built screens. 

The use of mobile phones while driving an autonomous vehicle remains prohibited.

Users will not be responsible for crashes with insurance companies liable for any claims.

However, motorists must be prepared to take control of vehicles when necessary.

Some readers were more positive toward self-driving cars, with username Taxed to Death writing: “All technology starts poor and gets better. 

“Self-driving cars may not yet be any good, but soon they will take over and we will wonder why anyone ever drove themselves.”

Trial schemes of self-driving buses have been launched in the UK, with Stagecoach testing five full-sized driverless buses with a passenger service due to begin this summer.

Oxford-based technology firm Oxbotica also completed its first fully autonomous, driverless vehicle test on public roads earlier this year.  

The electric self-driving vehicle used radar and laser-based systems in conjunction to operate in the city of Oxford.

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