IAM RoadSmart has expressed concern that cars with growing levels of autonomy could make motorists lazy and over reliant on gadgets – with far reaching implications for the potential reduction of people killed and seriously injured on the roads.
IAM RoadSmart, the UK’s biggest independent road safety charity, strongly supports this conclusion from the House of Lords Science and Technology Committee report Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: The future?
The report sets out recommendations for the government to ensure it makes policy and investment decisions that enable the UK to receive maximum economic and safety benefits from autonomous vehicles.
IAM RoadSmart also added that there is widespread concern from the charity’s members about the ease with which a driverless car could be hacked (reference 1) – with research showing there are many places security could be breached in a modern vehicle on sale today (reference 2).
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research, said: “When it comes to driverless cars, IAM RoadSmart members are not keen to give up full control and are also very concerned about hacking, so we welcome the House of Lords Technology Committee’s view that cyber security is an important issue.
“The implications for future driver competence and training as we become more reliant on technology are still far from clear, and it is vital that the government supports the committee’s call for further research in this area. IAM RoadSmart is already responding to this call by providing research grants and organising a conference in October on how we safely manage the transition to autonomous cars.”
The House of Lords’ committee said in its report: “Autonomous cars could have negative implications for drivers’ competence, making drivers complacent and overly reliant on technology. This is of particular concern in emergency situations, where a driver may react slowly to taking back control of a vehicle. The Government should give priority to commissioning and encouraging research studying behavioural questions and ensure it is an integral part of any trials it funds.”