autos

When will self-driving cars come to the UK?


SELF-DRIVING cars have been dubbed as the future of domestic transport, as the UK plans to replace combustion engines with electric powered motors.

Manufacturers such as Tesla are leading the charge for driverless technology, with the futuristic technology no longer the stuff of sci-fi movies.

 This self-driving Mercedes-Benz F015 concept car looks like it has been plucked off the set of a sci-fi film

4

This self-driving Mercedes-Benz F015 concept car looks like it has been plucked off the set of a sci-fi filmCredit: PA:Press Association

When will driverless cars come to the UK?

The Government is set to announce that driverless cars will be on the roads by the end of 2021.

Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps will announce on April 28, 2021, that vehicles with new technology enabling them to stay in their lanes automatically will be legal within months.

In January 2021, it was revealed that Shapps was pushing ahead with automated lane-keeping systems (ALKS), which would allow drivers to take their hands off the wheel, check phones and watch films.

The ALKS technology controls the position and speed of a car in a single lane but only up to speeds of 37mph (60km/h).

They will not be able to change lanes but can slow down automatically.

Following a consultation in 2020, the government has now said that vehicles with ALKS technology can be legally defined as self-driving, “as long as they receive GB type approval and that there is no evidence to challenge the vehicle’s ability to self-drive”.

The government confirmed that drivers will not be required to monitor the road or keep their hands on the wheel when the vehicle is driving itself.

But the driver will need to stay alert and be able take over when requested by the system within 10 seconds.

 The new NIO ET7 released by NIO at the Shanghai Auto Show attracted many fans

4

The new NIO ET7 released by NIO at the Shanghai Auto Show attracted many fansCredit: Alamy

If a driver fails to respond, the vehicle will automatically put on its hazard lights to warn nearby vehicles and slow down.

The Highway Code is now consulting on what rules will be put into new laws to make sure the technology is safely used.

In April 2017, it was announced that 100 plucky motorists will take a prototype driverless car on a test run around a two-mile circuit over three weeks near London’s O2 Arena.

Read More   Privately owned public transport group promises cashless system soon - Loop News Jamaica

And the Streetwise project in London in 2019, saw self-driving vehicles carrying commuters to and from work.

Back on 2017, Chris Grayling, the-then head of the Department for Transport, said: “I expect self-driving cars to be on the road by 2021.”

The same year, it was also suggested that driverless lorries could be on Britain’s motorways after ministers announced an £8.1million fund for trials.

The plans will allow computer-controlled vehicles to be driven in a “platoon” just yards apart from each other, which the Government hope will save money and reduce pollution.

In 2017, former Chancellor Philip Hammond described the growth of such revolutionary technology as the “next industrial revolution” and his Autumn Budget paid tribute to driverless tech, pledging £150million for new job training and self-driving research projects.

 This Google model has no pedal and a removable steering wheel

4

This Google model has no pedal and a removable steering wheelCredit: Corbis

How do self-driving cars work?

Different brands ranging from Google to Ford are planning to make driverless cars, and so there is bound to be some variation in the vehicles that eventually roll onto the market.

In a nutshell, self-driving cars have technology fitted that allows them to navigate and be aware of their environment without the need for a human driver.

This means each vehicle is fitted with a GPS unit, an internal navigation system and sensors including a laser rangefinder, radar, and video.

Sensor data allows them to create a 3D image of their environment.

The majority of self-driving cars have “deliberate architecture” installed – meaning they are capable of making intelligent decisions, even working out the best route to their destination.

Once the decision is made the journey is dissected into commands which are fed into devices called actuators.

These actuators control the steering, braking and throttle.

The car’s internal map will include the current and predicted static locations of buildings, traffic lights and stop signs.

It will also be able to identify moving objects such as other cars and pedestrians.

 Google it: Self-driving cars could be the norm on our roads in the next 10 to 15 years

4

Google it: Self-driving cars could be the norm on our roads in the next 10 to 15 yearsCredit: AP:Associated Press

What problems have driverless cars faced?

Manufacturers have made huge progress in making fully automated cars a reality on our roads – but they are still facing technological barriers.

Read More   Local Summit Seeks to Address Laramie Transportation Issues

GPS can be unreliable and vision systems are limited when it comes to understanding certain situations on our roads.

Changing weather can also affect the ability of cars to identify or track moving objects.

Problems around manufacturing could also be encountered, with it warned that there will not be enough engineers to keep up with the demand.

On April 18, 2021, it was revealed that self-driving vehicles may “struggle to recognise dark-skinned faces in the dark” according to the Law Commission, which is drawing up legal framework on the futuristic technology.

There are fears that facial recognition software may be less accurate at detecting “non-white and non-male faces”.

Edmund King, of the AA, said: “More needs to be done to test these systems.”

How safe are self-driving cars?

In April 2021, two men died after a Tesla “on auto-pilot with no one driving” crashed into a tree in Spring, Texas.

But Elon Musk has blasted claims that the crash took place while auto-pilot was engaged.

In March 2018, a woman was knocked down crossing the street in Arizona in what is believed to be the first pedestrian in the world killed by a driverless car.

Tesla test driver Joshua Brown became the first person to die in a self-driving car in 2016.

He was driving a Tesla on autopilot when, in bright sunshine, its sensors failed to detect a large 18-wheel truck and trailer on a highway.

Tesla said the car was in its “public beta phase” meaning the software was being stress-tested by members of the public so that bugs could be flushed out.

Examples of self-driving car safety issues include:

  • Roadworks: In April 2015 the manufacturers Delphi sent an autonomous car on a 3,400 mile trip across the US. Engineers had to take control of the car for 50 miles because of unmarked lanes and roadworks.
  • Sandbags: In February 2016 one of Google’s self-driving cars smashed into a bus as it tried to navigate sandbags. The car had predicted the bus but anticipated it would yield.
  • Hacking: As cars become more hi-tech they will become more vulnerable to hacking. With driverless vehicles, the extra computers, internet connectivity and sensors increase the possible vulnerabilities. One affect of this is that cars could be fooled into detecting objects that aren’t there and may stop and slow down for no reason.
  • Weather: Adverse weather can create visibility problems that reduce the range and accuracy of sensors.

When did a self-driving Uber vehicle kill a pedestrian?

Safety concerns were raised after an Uber self-driving car hit and killed a woman in the United States on March 18, 2018.

The accident involving the US technology firm’s car in Arizona marked the first fatality linked to an autonomous vehicle and a potential blow to the technology expected to transform transportation.

Uber immediately suspended all road-testing of such autos in the Phoenix area, Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Toronto.

The testing has been going on for months as automakers and technology companies like the ride-hailing service compete to be the first with cars that operate on their own.

According to company insiders, the fatal collision was due to a software fault that chose to dismiss the detection.

The Volvo was in self-driving mode with a human backup driver at the wheel when it hit 49-year-old Elaine Herzberg as she was walking a bicycle outside the lines of a crosswalk, police said.

She died at a hospital.





READ SOURCE

Leave a Reply

This website uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you accept our use of cookies.