Autonomous vehicles could lead to new driving licence tests.
If you plan to own a driverless vehicle at some point in the next few decades you might have another theory/practical exam in order to have the authority to drive it by law. This is due to the rising fear that drivers will be clueless when “taking back control” of a self-driving vehicle. The concerns of this were raised after the Uber crash in Arizona.
This new licence could be required for self-driving vehicles, which are set to hit UK roads by 2021 with a test to follow suit. In some test runs of self-driving vehicles on a global scale, research has found that many drivers have struggled when taking control of the vehicle mid-journey. This is due to the delayed reaction times from drivers who have to become self-aware on the road mid-journey.
The research recorded that most drivers take 2-3 seconds to take control back of the vehicle when switching to manual from autonomous, this was tested with speeds between 20-50 MPH. At the faster speeds it was found that this was enough for vehicles to travel 45 metres without the vehicle or driver in control.
This could mean insurers would feel the need to set premiums, which could be entirely based on how well drivers do during tests when retaking control of the vehicle. In cases such as pensioners the premiums would have a much heavier cost.
The research also found that laws put in place could prevent drivers from doing almost anything they would want to do in an autonomous vehicle such as: napping, reading, watching movies or anything that could somehow mean the driver loses eye contact with the road.
CEO of RED Driving School Ian McIntosh stated that there is a likelihood the driving tests and the Highway Code will need major updates, to be modernised for the newest technology being introduced to public roads.
He continued saying: "There are still a number of issues to be resolved regarding driverless cars. Driverless vehicle technology is likely to come in very gradually and will continue to exist alongside normal cars for decades to come.”
Insurance provider: AXA UK’s technical director, David Williams spoke regarding the research: “The exciting part about Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) is that they open up a world of opportunity and mobility for those who may have previously struggled.
“At the same time, it also raises questions regarding practicalities, liability and, most importantly, safety.
“The latest Venturer report investigates just one aspect of the driverless experience – the handover stage – and calls for greater understanding of how motorists will adapt to this new process.”
As for what this could mean for lorry drivers, with the introduction of this new technology to the roads which is the biggest change to the transport industry for decades, it could mean that drivers will need to retake their test to meet the new standards to show that they are prepared for the technology of the future on the roads.