Driverless cars: An expert’s opinion for 25 years on

• Dedicated motorway lanes on way
• Eight million ‘connected’ cars in UK by 2020
• Kia does future-gaze after 25 years in UK

GOING AUTONOMOUS: Crystal-gazing with Kia about their future. Image: Newspress
GOING AUTONOMOUS: Crystal-gazing with Kia about their future. Image: Newspress

LONDON, England – Kia, to celebrate its 25th anniversary in the UK, has commissioned a report that looks at the predicted motoring industry over the next 25 years. Here are some of the highlights…

The report, which covers new technologies, the role of connectivity in cars of the future, and wider infrastructure and regulation, is a fascinating insight into how the UK will drive in 25 years.

Fully autonomous cars, the report says, will account for half of all car sales by then with increasing degrees of autonomy ranging from cruise control to partial self-drive automation. More than eight-million connected cars on UK roads will by then be able to communicate with each other and the surrounding infrastructure.

READ MORE features on autonomous cars on Carman’s Corner.

There will be a huge overhaul, the report adds, of infrastructure to accommodate a mix of autonomous connected cars and traditional vehicles. Autonomous cars will have their own lanes on motorways and will, under certain conditions, be able to ‘communicate’ with the road to identify obstacles, travel delays and even potholes.

Autonomous cars.Image: Newspress
HANDS ON THE WHEEL? Not for much longer. Autonomous cars will even have their own freeway lanes. Image: Newspress

However, as another report points out ‘UK drivers are ‘scared, worried’ about autonomous cars.

Kia says the report was commissioned in conjunction with Dr Frank Shaw from the Centre for Future Studies and “reveals some of the benefits of autonomous vehicles”.

  • With Level 4 autonomy (cars that are completely self-driving, no need for human input) parking fines will be almost eliminated. They will drop their passengers then find their own parking;  insurance premiums for traffic accidents are likely to be almost obsolete with cars able to avoid collisions through communication with each other.
  • With cars able to transport themselves between locations there is also likely to be an increase in car-sharing – bringing down the costs and emissions associated with owning a car.
  • The driving test process will be drastically overhauled. Drivers will still need a licence for partially autonomous cars but fully self-driving vehicles will allow those unable to drive for reasons such as disability a freedom previously denied to them as no human intervention will be required.

Shaw, described by Time Magazine as one of the world’s 10 most influential thinkers, commented: “The future of the car industry is exciting. There will be a transformation from an industry built by mechanics to one largely driven by software developers.

“There’s been considerable speculation through 2016 about autonomous driving but its full effect will not become obvious until the 2040s. I’m confident, however, that over the next 25 years the industry and technology companies will deliver a safer, more efficient, environmentally friendly driving experience for everybody.”

…AND A WORD FROM OUR SPONSOR

Paul Philpott, Kia Motors UK’s president and CEO, added: “Technology in the motoring industry is moving incredibly fast. This report is a fascinating look at how the world around our cars will need to adapt.

“When Kia started UK car distribution in 1991 the world was a very different place. We have grown from a small importer with just one model to 188 dealers across the UK

“We’re looking forward to the next 25 years and what the future will bring!”

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