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Safety Concerns over Driverless Cars

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.

A recent report from the House of Lord's Science and Technology Committee acknowledged that autonomous cars bring many advantages, but also highlighted that the main social, behavioural and ethical questions relating to their use remain largely unanswered; such as whether they will reduce accidents caused by human error.

It has called for the Government to give priority to commissioning and encouraging research studying behavioural questions and ensure it is an integral part of any trials it funds.

IAM RoadSmart has welcomed this conclusion, and added that there is widespread concern from the charity’s members about the ease with which a driverless car could be hacked – with research showing there are many places security could be breached in a modern vehicle on sale today.

“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,” explained Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart director of policy and research. 

“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,” he said.

“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,” he added.

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