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Self Driving Cars, Where’s the Fun in That?

I bought a new car recently. I was quite enthused about all the gadgets, in particular the digital radio so that I could immerse myself once again in music from the 1980s...

Amongst all the other gadgets in the car were multiple parking sensors, cruise control, a speed limiter and auto on/off start and stop for the engine when I’m stuck in stationary traffic crawling into the office each morning.

Fairly standard you might think in a modern car, but apparently this does not go far enough for the “techno-geeks” in the world of engineering.

It seems that computer-driven cars are the future, with some of these cars already having been tested on the roads of California for more than four years.

Google developed a driverless car without a steering wheel but, thankfully, rules have been introduced which require the redundant device to be re-fitted.

Formal testing of driverless cars is set to begin early next year, according to a statement from Google, and NASA is working with Google on the project; working to gain useful information for its own efforts to develop unmanned drones and systems.

Given that I don’t even trust the automatic parking sensor in my car, I cannot see myself driving a car anytime soon that has no steering wheel. The safety obsessive in me asks who would be responsible in the event of an accident involving a self-driving car?

Would questions be raised over the input of the “driver” in programming the vehicle on the journey on which any collision occurred?

Would drivers be required to pass driver training to include computer programming?

Quite aside from the legal and technical implications though, when I passed my driving test some 25 years ago, I didn’t envisage not having to play an active part in driving my Nissan Micra, (as it was back then).

Indeed, had somebody told me that I would never have to change gear, turn a steering wheel, struggle with the intricacies of moving my seat back and forth according to my footwear and spend time calculating braking and stopping distances; perhaps I would have thought twice about even bothering to take my driving test.

I actually enjoy all of these parts of the driving experience. Apart from that, I am the eternal control freak.

Jane Cooper is a Senior Personal Injury Lawyer specialising in Road Traffic Accident claims at Slater and Gordon Lawyers in Sheffield.

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