Driverless cars a reality by 2030?

Driverless cars a reality by 2030?

Driverless cars could hit the roads by 2030, experts are predicting.

The move could help save the lives of hundreds of motorists and other road users, the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) predicts.

This is because computer-operated vehicles will make just 0.01% as many mistakes as a human, the IET said.

The car insurance implications of moving to such technology - being trialled on UK roads for the first time next month - are still unknown. But the IET forecasts that speeding, taxis and private car ownership could all be phased out with the introduction of driverless car and speed-restricting gadgets.

Next month's £19 million autonomous car trials will see vehicles tested in Bristol, Coventry, Milton Keynes and Greenwich, south London.

The IET said such cars could be seen on the country's roads by 2030.

It believes that they could be tailor-made to suit the motorist. For example, a young learner driver could have their speed automatically restricted, whereas a veteran motorist would be allowed to go faster.

The institution also predicted a rise in the number of car clubs and far less congestion. The IET's Phil Blythe, called the opportunity presented by these vehicles as "exciting".

RAC chief engineer David Bizley said: "The prospect of driverless cars is exciting and, by removing some driver error, the new technology promises major safety benefits for us all. What eventually becomes a reality on our roads however, and what remains on the engineer's wishlist, is still a long way from being decided.

"What is certain though is that for UK motorists, the introduction of driverless cars is going to be very gradual. We're already used to seeing more 'intelligent' cars on the road that are fitted with features such as automatic emergency braking and self-parking. There will now be a phasing-in of new technologies that will gradually allow cars to operate with much less driver input, but the role of the driver isn't going to disappear overnight.

Copyright Press Association 2014