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Driverless cars – multi-sector approach required

Lee Woodcock | 21 Oct 2014 | Comments

An article in the Times today says driverless cars will appear on Britain’s roads by 2019, and will barely be distinguishable from those by driven by humans. This exciting prospect is being driven by rapidly advancing vehicle technology. I agree with the article when it says that technology will not be the issue to hold back development.

What we do need to develop is proof of concepts on the integration with driverless cars and existing infrastructure. This is where the UK Government’s £10 million investment will help.

The main issue for me is around people and trust, how will pedestrians and cyclists, for instance, react and interact with driverless cars? There is a huge opportunity to think about this and how society can enhance the public realm as a result of technology enabling a move towards intelligent mobility.

We also need to take other sectors along with us to develop new services and business models. These will need to be innovative and address a range of complex challenges – working collaboratively between the public sector, private sector and academia will unlock these but it will take time.

It is an exciting future: generation Y will be demanding new forms of mobility alongside personalised real time information where transport is a mere utility. We have the capability in the UK to meet this need and driverless cars will have an important role to play.

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