Lords Produce Sensible Report On Driverless cars

On the telly, they look like a lot of bumbling self-indulgent old wind-bags, but the Lords can come up with some thoughtful stuff, as shown by today’s House of Lords’  report on driverless cars:

It starts by taking HMG to task for being too focused on private cars ‘when the early benefits of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) are likely to appear in other sectors, such as marine and agriculture’

‘The Government must broaden its focus so that its work on CAV cuts across all sectors and does not focus so heavily on highly-automated private road vehicles,’ say the Lords, ‘the Government must not allow hype and media attention around driverless cars to cause it to lose sight of the many potential benefits that CAV can provide in areas outside the roads sector and within the roads sector for public transport vehicles and lorries.’

One worry is the lulling of drivers into a state of complacency in semi-automated cars:

‘We challenge the expected benefits of a level of automation at which a driver takes back control of the vehicle in an emergency situation,’ says their Lordships, ‘given the evidence that reactions could be slow and poor in such circumstances, it may be that the risks associated with this are too great to tolerate and that a way should be found to bypass Level 3 where a driver does not need to monitor the dynamic driving conditions, nor the driving environment at all times, but must always be in a position to resume control.’

The research should be left to industry, says the report:

‘Existing manufacturers and new entrants will carry out their own R&D for fully automated cars if there is a clear business case for investing in these technologies,’ say the Lords, adding, ‘the Government should not need to invest heavily or to take the lead in this area.’

Having said that, the report urges HMG to ‘continue to support scientific research in robotics and related information technology at academic institutions, to ensure that the UK continues to have a world-leading research base in these crucial areas.’

And it recommends that the government should set up CAV testing facilities to attract manufacturers and academics to the UK. ‘This should include one or more large scale testing environments covering real world urban and rural environments,’ says the report.

Their Lordships conclude: ‘There is little hard evidence to substantiate the potential benefits and disadvantages of CAV because most of them are at a prototype or testing stage.’







  1. Wise words GeoffC the world is dangerous enough already without hacked cars running amok.

  2. We are hoist on our own petard by, by a modern example of say Health and Safety. There are some people in this World that have had a poor education. That is to say; that what they have been allowed to learn is unbalanced and devoid of sufficient philosophical reasoning.

    This situation is dramatically supported by ancient written literature that has to be adhered to for “H&S” reasons. If we take the incident in London (March 22nd.) then rationally we understand that a person had had their soul hacked. Their security package had been removed, and they were powerless to resist their alternative programming.

    Note how we laughed at the situation where Kryton (Red Dwarf) was being hacked by Lister’s reasoning to overcome its harm-chip; such that it could bring itself to say “smeg”.

    Why does anyone not see that “the King has got no clothes on” when it comes to the security of driverless cars? With or without a soul it will never work until everyone agrees that a non–human device can be totally responsible for whatever happens when things go wrong. Is it even remotely like being like a Company that makes guns in that they are never held to be responsible for their use?

    If we propose that one day we will be able to produce this scenario, then we shall, by then, have become God? All this research is only there to be able to build a better mouse trap before the other buggers produce one? Mankind will be happier then; not?

  3. ‘Jipi and the Patanoid Chip’ sounds like a perfect example of what GeoffC is talking about, SEPAM, we’ll just have to hope ther will be people as charming as Jipi around to cope with paranoid boxes when the techies start developing them.

  4. Is it to develop more successful dating techniques GeoffC?

  5. I love all this dirty talk; philosophically of course! So what is the real difference between a car controlled by a human mind to one controlled by a computer? Both are output decision boxes based on sensory input?

    If we can’t create an electronic soul then do we have a chance to solve this one? Plus the Achilles heal in all this is “responsibility”. Watch what happens when the manufactures end up with it on their plates?

    Lots of fun to be had here! Like; have you guessed the secret agenda for all this sensory research, yet?

  6. Well absolutely, Dr Bob, every stroppy oik in town will walk in front of them knowing the things are programmed to stop,

  7. Allegedly automated vehicles will have software to prevent accidents with other vehicles and pedestrians.

    That really will bring London (and traffic everywhere) to a screeching halt!

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