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Driverless Cars: More Testing


driverless car

LONDON -- July 30, 2014: Fully driverless cars are an exciting glimpse of the future with substantial potential to improve road safety – but the UK’s car fleet has a long way to go before it makes the most of existing autonomous technology already tested, proven and readily available, says insurers’ research centre, Thatcham Research.

“Today’s announcement that the Government will allow driverless cars on UK roads in just five months’ time sets an ambitious target,” says Peter Shaw, Chief Executive of Thatcham Research. “We fully support the automation of safety features such as braking/steering where the vehicle intervenes to avoid a crash - but we must recognise that fully driverless cars require a great deal more comprehensive testing and development before they can be made commercially available in the UK – or anywhere in the world.”

He goes on to say: “We therefore support the controlled testing that the government is encouraging and are monitoring the results with great interest. In the meantime we are calling on the UK Government to materially support proposed financial incentives designed to encourage more car makers to fit existing Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) technology as standard, and save more than 1,200 lives over the next ten years alone.”

Thatcham has been researching and testing AEB systems on behalf of insurers for the last 3 years and has carried out hundreds of tests on a wide range of new vehicles.

“The evidence from our testing is undeniable, and combined with a growing body of real world research and evidence, we firmly believe that AEB and other ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems) have a critical role to play in safer roads for the future. Fully driverless cars may take a while longer to gain widespread acceptance.”