Over the last few years, driverless car technology has gone from something that you’d only see in science fiction movies to something that’s seen heavy investment and testing. In the latest advancement towards mainstream adoption of driverless car technology, a scheme overseen by UK tech group, Oxbotica, will see a fleet of self-driving cars running on the M40 by 2019. The vehicles will travel from London to Oxford on the M40 and will be capable of communicating with each other in real-time about the hazards on the road.
“Today’s news is truly groundbreaking. No company, group or consortium of autonomy experts has attempted what Driven is planning over the next 30 months. We are seeking to address some of the most fundamental challenges preventing the commercial deployment of fully autonomous vehicles.” said Oxbotica CEO, Dr Graeme Smith.
The purpose of the scheme is to test the vehicles under real driving conditions in order to assess and address some of the major issues that self-driving cars face, such as the risk of hacking and how the vehicles should be insured. The scheme has been funded by major companies who are part of the Driven group, including Transport for London and Telefonica. A Government grant of £8.6 million is also helping to fund the scheme.
There is still much scepticism about driverless cars, despite the predicted advantages - namely significantly lowering the number of car accidents as well as the cost of car fleet insurance premiums. Big as these advantages might be, there are still many who are concerned about safety issues such as the vulnerability of driverless cars to hacking. Putting this aside, there are also those who simply don’t like the idea of being in a car that they’re not in control of.
Despite these concerns, driverless car technology is moving forward with many companies from across the world continuing to invest in it, including Google, Volvo and Toyota amongst others.