How Driverless Cars Will Change The Way The British Moan About Traffic
As the first driverless self-guiding cars get set to arrive on British roads, driving into the future is going to bring a whole new set of problems for road users in the UK.
That's the opinion of a national car leasing company that says that while some of the bugbears that British drivers hate will disappear, whole new problems will emerge that will leave helpless passengers seething in their automated vehicles.
While future-gazing is a difficult skill, the clues are already there to see how a driverless future will pan out, the Yorkshire- based Flexed.co.uk company says.
"Driverless cars are built on logic and the passionless scanning of the road ahead by a computer," says Flexed.co.uk's Mark Hall, "It's going to be all function and no discretion, with no nipping out of road junctions before that chap towing a caravan doing 25 mph.
"Speaking as a British driver, can you imagine the boredom?"
Flexed.co.uk confidently predicts that the following will happen as soon as driverless cars become commonplace on British roads. Some will be uniquely British, while others could happen worldwide:
● Mini roundabouts. We all know what happens when three cars get to a mini roundabout all wanting to turn right – British politeness sets in and you could be there until tea-time waiting for someone to go first. Robot cars just
● won't be able to make that decision, it'll be chaos, and Isaac Asimov will be turning in his grave.
● Car crime. Who wants to steal a car if it drives you straight to the police station? Better still, it could drive criminals to the local water treatment works and slowly fill the car up with sewage until the criminals apologise.
● The art of hitch-hiking is likely to die out, unless robots take up hitch-hiking.
● Cars occasionally turning up at destinations with heart-attack victims inside, which won't be a pleasant experience for anyone
● Road rage perpetrated on your own car because it slavishly follows its programming and refuses to overtake the car in front that's tootling along at 2mph below the speed limit.
● Banging your head on the dashboard in frustration as your car reacts too slowly to get the last space in a car park
● Not a problem: Other drivers won't be able to nip up the 'wrong lane' in a traffic jam, and jump into a gap near the front of the queue. What is a problem: Neither will you.
● Higher insurance rates for your make of robot car, because its driving logic is worse than a more expensive model
● Pranksters placing cardboard cut-outs of people on crossings.
● People 'hacking' their cars to let it break the law.
● The first conviction for a couple having sex in a driverless car.
Flexed.co.uk 's Mark Hall says there will naturally be a great deal of apprehension among British road users about self-guided cars.
"The fact that you will be putting your life in the hands of a computer instead of a human is a hard concept for people to grasp," he says. "And there is plenty of science fiction out there where machines have turned on their fleshy masters to fuel that worry."
Flexed.co.uk thinks that as the number of autonomous vehicles on our roads increases, Britons will slowly work out how to deal with them, and we will soon consider them an everyday experience.
"Until then, those scientists had better get cracking on the mini-roundabout problem. Our roads could grind to a halt if they don't."