Self-driving cars will crash, warns the man responsible for overseeing their … –

Posted: Monday, November 09, 2015

Self-driving cars could slash the
number of deaths on British roads – but only if the public keeps faith
with them when the inevitable accidents occur, according to the head
of the government policy unit responsible for overseeing their introduction.

Iain Forbes, from the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Driving,
said: “There are currently 1,700 deaths a year on British roads,
despite them being some of the safest in the world. And while
autonomous cars could reduce that figure by up to 90 per cent, people
would still have to be comfortable with 170 deaths a year. The
technology will only reach its full potential if it can withstand failures.”

This viewpoint seems to run contrary to that of Volvo, which has
previously said that it aims
to have zero deaths or injuries in its cars by 2020
thanks, in
part, to self-driving technology.

Forbes also admitted that predictions of what will happen in the
future are notoriously unreliable, and that consequently UK
legislation on the use of self-driving cars will be introduced as needed.

“The government policy is to address issues as they emerge rather
than try and come up with one big, catch-all law,” he said. “After
all, in 1894 The Times predicted that over the following 50
years the use of horse-drawn carriages would increase to such an
extent that every street in London would be covered with 9ft of horse
manure. I don’t know about you, but my history lessons didn’t suggest
that was the big problem facing the country in 1944.”


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