Driverless Cars are set to appear on UK roads in 2019, as reported by BBC in their technology section today. Previously, autonomous cars in the UK have been driven on private, not public, roads and at low speeds.
This new effort is being taken up by Oxbotica, a consortium led by founder Prof Paul Newman, of Oxford University. He says “We’re moving from the singleton autonomous vehicle to fleets of autonomous vehicles – and what’s interesting is what data the vehicles share with one another, when, and why.”
The UK government wants to lead the way in the development of autonomous vehicles, and does not want to fall behind the US in developing this new technology.
I have expressed some regulator concerns for the Canadian market when it comes to autonomous vehicles. Mainly around the ability of autonomous mode in harsh weather conditions, distance locations and during emergency conditions. Information privacy and third party liability are also concerns, let along getting the technology to work. That is why it is paramount for government to get involved, if not just to prove immunity when it comes to the issues mentioned above, but leadership in the direction the technology should take in our unique climate.
What is important to note is the framework being developed by the UK government. They already have a web presence dedicated to developing the technology here. I do not believe Canada has a similar initiative started.