Will driverless technology help keep us safer on the roads?

Hadley Hodgson

By: Hadley Hodgson

It seems like some kind of futuristic dream that you could never have imagined happening in reality, but cars that operate independently of their drivers are now on the horizon after being approved for testing in Coventry and Greenwich, London.

As part of the government’s £100m Intelligent Mobility Fund almost a quarter of that figure will be put into the research and development of driverless technology, and it’s one of several projects dedicated to helping make things easier and safer on the roads.

For example, the ‘Insight’ project is looking at developing shuttles with advanced sensor technology specifically designed with the visually impaired in mind.

This is undoubtedly a huge milestone with Transport Secretary, Patrick McLoughlin calling the announcement “a landmark moment

Also, it gives us an insight into how fast technology is developing and while the concept of autonomous vehicles may seem silly and maybe even somewhat intimidating to some people, there are both positive and negative points to consider for having them on the road.

Obviously there’s a safety factor involved because such sophisticated technology is looking to help prevent road accidents by making drivers aware of potential hazards around them, and accidents that have occurred on route.

This will allow drivers to make informed decisions on how to prevent a potential accident ahead of time and make things safer for passengers and pedestrians as well.

However, on the other side of the coin it’s natural to wonder how reliable this technology will be long term.

No matter how superior a piece of technology or equipment is it’s never completely immune to failure on some level, and I know I’m interested to learn more about how our roads will be better equipped to assist the vehicles and ensure a safer, smoother journey.

It’s not hard to imagine the consequences of a driverless vehicle failing on a busy road.

In a world where smartphones can do almost anything you could want we definitely rely heavily on technology to get us through our day to day lives; it makes me wonder how much more responsibility we’ll take away from ourselves by investing in this kind of technology, as impressive as it is.

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