We have all taken leave of our senses, in the headlong rush to autonomous vehicles. That is the conclusion I have been forced to reach over the last few weeks.
Cars and technology are two of my favourite things. I put them on a par with my lovely wife and coffee as the greatest things on the planet. Instinctively I should love autonomous vehicles and secretly I do.
I should be bouncing about with excitement at the UK Government’s latest couple of transport announcements that convoys of autonomous lorries and cars will begin trials along the M6 next year. I am not.
Haven’t we already had convoys of autonomous vehicles trundling around our country for years. It’s called the railway. We spent countless millions convincing people to shift their goods to road from rail back in the 70s and 80s. Having put the freight on to our congested roads we now want to recreate trains. Bizzare.
I am baffled further that the car industry, with friends from technology companies, have spent countless billions equipping vehicles to be able to do what most of us can do competently already, drive.
I like to drive, I am proud of my skills and love nothing more than a drive along a country lane with the wind blowing through my metaphorical hair.
What really baffles me is that billions are being spent under the premise of improved safety. In the UK road accidents cost approximately 2,000 lives annually. The industry wants to stop deaths and injury on our roads. I am delighted and applaud such application.
What upsets me massively is that 40,000 people die every year in the UK due to the poor air quality caused by emissions from cars and lorries. Why do we have an automotive industry hell bent on saving 2,000 lives when twenty times more people meet a premature end through respiratory problems that they do little to address? A more efficient diesel engine is still going to kill people just not through a collision but through operation. Is the car industry doing enough to save you and your little ones?