Google’s driverless Toyota Prius has clocked up half a million miles in the USA and finally we’re getting a trial in England. The autonomous 2-seater vehicles will travel around the city in a five-year trial, functioning a automated taxis. You’ll be able to hail them or book them using a smartphone app. We can imagine that the National Taxi Association and the Licensed Taxi Drivers Association will be planning a public relations campaign as vehicles like these reduce income of their members.
There will be around 100 of the vehicles travelling between Milton Keynes Central Train station, the shopping centre and offices around a mile away using a lane separated from pedestrians.
Two people plus luggage will be able to fit inside for a paltry £2 per journey and they’ll be whisked at a leisurely 12mph in virtual silence as the pods will use an electric motor. We already wrote about the impact driverless cars will have on our driving in this article here (opens in a new tab).
Ultimately driverless cars will make the roads much safer. Recent statistic have shown that drivers on A roads are three times more likely to have a crash than drivers on dual carriageways. This research should not be surprising to anyone with any common sense: A roads are windier, generally not as well maintained, have more entrances and exits, often have large immovable objects close to the edge of the road, have less room for error and have vehicles only several feet away travelling at 60mph in the opposite direction.
Apparently the two most dangerous roads in the UK are the A5012 and A537. Perhaps we need driverless cars on those roads.