One of the founders of popular motoring magazine Auto Express has written an impassioned opinion piece asking why drivers have not been asked whether or not they want driverless cars.
Mike Rutherford, who has worked with the title since 1988 and is a regular motoring contributor on radio and TV, says it’s not a case of if we get driverless cars but when, how much they’ll cost, and who’ll insure them. He also mentions legislation will have to be “hugely amended”.
But he points out, “Drivers and passengers have not been asked if they want cars that drive themselves. How bizarre is that? Even more bizarrely, the usually clued-up Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders, and famously clueless British Government do want ’em. Excuse me? What about the views of the people? The SMMT and Parliament haven’t explained their desire to stop trained, qualified, licensed drivers, er, driving. This cruel ‘dump the driver’ approach is so unfathomable and illogical it’s borderline sinister. I’m deeply suspicious about what’s going on.”
In the article he questions what’ll happen to professional drivers and points out that a survey by 7th Sense Research suggests a “very large” number of people want to drive themselves.
These comments in a respected magazine suggests the driverless car industry must remember that winning support for the technology remains as much of a challenge as getting the technology right.