As you've probably heard, the British Government has announced today platoons of self driving trucks (well that's an over statement), rather than small convoys of partially driverless lorries will be taking to the British highways. Couple that with Tesla announcing their truck cabs will be able to achieve 300 mile per charge,
the future certainly looks bright for autonomy and the EV.
The British Leyland wagons will be the start of a bigger plan of bringing self driving commercial vehicles to the UK in 2018.
Self driving vehicles, or autonomous if you prefer, have been around for some years - however it's only in the last few years that manufacturers have been able to guarantee consistent results by refining the technology. The tech now defines what a self driving car can achieve in reliability, safety and other factors.
Tesla has somewhat been a pioneer of this technology, and to that end, we get review the Tesla Model S in October, and really see how autonomous advancements have created a fully self driving automobile.
Vehicles that can virtually drive themselves, have in latter years been a bone of contention concerning their AI, and have conjured scenarios such as Skynet in the Terminator films. AI in our daily lives is coming, even the Volvo V40 we have been given, can virtually drive itself, with autonomous braking and adaptive cruise control.
Self driving or autonomous mobility has come on leaps and bounds in recent years, driverless trucks are just part of the plan. The AA head has raised safety concerns regarding autonomous vehicles on the British highways, however the stats tell a different story, in fact the introduction of self driving vehicles is expected to improve road safety.
The majority of the British public believe the introduction of autonomous cars and wagons will have a positive impact on road safety in certain environments, making motorways a safer place to travel. However they are somewhat sceptical about A and B roads.
There are many key benefits to autonomous vehicles operating in the UK. The fact that they will obey road traffic laws, meaning no speeding, no dangerous driving or overtaking; in all likelihood being the perfect driver.
Mark Bridger, vice president of sales, Northern Europe, OpenText:
“We are on the cusp of self-driving cars becoming a reality and, in the next couple of years, the automotive industry will be transformed beyond recognition. Driverless cars’ onboard sensors generate vast amount of data. As autonomous vehicles become more common, the data they produce will become a new, powerful asset for organisations. The technological advances in AI will led to a growing level of trust amongst British citizens when it comes to autonomous vehicles, particularly in regards to improving road safety. In order for this to be achieved, the automotive industry will need to manage and analyse their data sets to identify how the car is performing, and, more importantly, alert them to possible safety issues.
“In this hyper-connected world, car companies, therefore, need to ensure they are not only delivering the most innovative connected technology, but that this technology is also safe and reliable in order to install the level of trust needed for mass adoption. AI will enable automakers to analyse, adapt, and suggest solutions based on data, bringing the world of driverless cars closer to reality.”
OpenText, the leaders in enterprise information management, recently surveyed 2,000 UK consumers on their attitudes towards driverless cars and found that:
- UK consumers see ‘improved road safety’ as the biggest benefit to autonomous driving. More than two in five UK consumers (42%) agreed that driverless/autonomous vehicles will make roads safer
- Over a quarter (27%) of UK consumers think that the ability of driverless/autonomous vehicles to obey all traffic rules will improve road safety, whereas one in ten (10%) think this technology will make roads safer, but only on UK motorways
- Two thirds of UK consumers (66%) think there will be more driverless/autonomous cars on the road than normal cars within the next 15 years.
Women were the most sceptical of this prospect, with 56% of women stating that it will never happen compared to just 44% of men.
And on a similar theme, Tesla have just announced that their truck cabs can achieve a 300 mile range, which is quite something when you think the average mpg for a heavy goods vehicle is around 7 miles - £200 per tank, that is just 700 miles. Eectric trucks are certainly gamechangers, when they can fulfil everything a diesel cab can.
Some years ago Tesla announced one of their main game plans was to rethink the commercial vehicle market, with the introduction of electric pick up trucks and HGVs.