back to article Whitehall maps out Blighty's driverless future

The UK's Department for Transport – with £20m of R&D taxpayer money on the table (the first tranche of a total £100m) – has published a code of conduct for driverless car testing. Whitehall hopes to push British motor makers ahead of the game in getting driverless cars on the road, the DfT said. The code follows on from a …

  1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "appropriate levels of security built into them to manage any risk of unauthorised access”.

    So plenty of weasel space for the mfgs to play with when something goes wrong.

    Good too see the Department for cars and roads Transport doing it's bit to keep Blighty ahead.

    Roll on the first Amazon delivery van "powered" by Google?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Facepalm

    "Cars should be immune to hacks"

    It's hard to argue with the sentiment. The reality will be somewhat different.

    1. Graham Marsden
      Holmes

      Re: "Cars should be immune to hacks"

      Yes, my first reaction was "Good luck with that!"

  3. chris swain

    Hacked cars

    How long until we see a rolling botnet making DDOS attacks on the highways network? 'We've blocked access to your haulage yard, please send money and we'll call off the robocars'

    1. Cuddles Silver badge

      Re: Hacked cars

      "How long until we see a rolling botnet making DDOS attacks on the highways network? 'We've blocked access to your haulage yard, please send money and we'll call off the robocars'"

      They're going to be hacked by French dock workers?

      1. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Hacked cars

        Sound like the Eastern European gang more than the dockworkers. CryptoLocker for Cars in the future?

  4. Graham Marsden

    I still want to know...

    ... how well these cars are going to be able to deal with narrow side roads in British cities where there are vehicles going in both directions, but with cars parked on both sides meaning there's only room for one at a time and it's necessary for someone to back up into a gap to let the other vehicle through etc...

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: I still want to know...

      Plus things like badly laid out roadworks. I once saw a massive jam caused by badly placed temporary traffic lights. I stopped at the red (at the correct place as marked), and then realised that I was blocking traffic in the other direction and had too much traffic behind me to back up. The queue from that went back at least a mile. Lots of other roadworks need careful thought to negotiate properly. And even if the car can read the signs, sometimes those are wrong.

      These cars are going to have at least some failure modes where they get confused. And once those become widely known, people will set them up deliberately - for 'fun', or for carjacking.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Unhappy

        Re: I still want to know...

        > ... or for carjacking.

        This is actually my biggest fear. I've no doubt that on average, self driving cars are going to be infinitely safer than manual drivers but if stopping for someone jumping out in front of you is going to be mandatory without any kind of override, then I suspect the practice of "car jumping" on country roads is going to become rather commonplace.

        I suspect that an "ESCAPE" button will be required which will allow the car to take aggressive, evasive action rather than come to a full stop.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I still want to know...

      "narrow side roads in British cities"

      To say nothing of west country narrow lanes with passing places.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: I still want to know...

        "To say nothing of west country narrow lanes with passing places."

        Maybe the built-in SatNav mapping system can be set to think it's an HGV and void places like that. Not perfectt, but better than your average car-type SatNav but I suspect that they will never be able to cope with certain situations outside main roads.

    3. F0rdPrefect

      Re: I still want to know...

      I want to know how they will deal with roadworks with Stop/Go boards.

      Are they going to be able to read?

      Oh and narrow roads with passing places are not just a west country phenomenon. Essex County Council have deliberately reduced the width of a number of roads, eg B1010 south of Maldon such that passing places are required so as to slow traffic.

  5. Elmer Phud Silver badge

    Time to bin the trainset?

    So, why carry on with the expensive rail link to North London (Midlands division) when the bot-cars will be soon available? The costs of HS2 just keep rising and no-one knows what they are or how far they will go. A FOI requst to the DoT resulted in:

    "“I am writing to advise you that following a thorough search of our paper and electronic records, I have established that the information you requested is not held by this Department because we have no business need to estimate the cost of HS2 in 2015 prices.”"

    Still, bulldoze the villages etc. but just bung in a four lane strip instead?

    1. JHC_97

      Re: Time to bin the trainset?

      Bin the existing trainset certainly the cost of buying the land means we should be looking at a cutting edge train system maglev at least if it going to cost a freaking fortune just to lay the track we might as well spend some money on R&D so we can at least sell the tech on.

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: Time to bin the trainset?

      "So, why carry on with the expensive rail link"

      Because it can be used to haul freight.

      Mind you, it should run from birmingham northwards. A branch line to London might be nice later on, but it'd be better running direct to HS1

  6. This post has been deleted by its author

  7. hatti

    Let me know if you need a test driver.

    Johnny Cab

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "it will need to have passed in-house tests on closed roads"

    Whose house? The developers' or an independent assessor's?

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Very naive

    The folks at the DoT are very naïve if they think their code of conduct for testing is even remotely adequate for testing AVs. This is a very disappointing and insufficient code of conduct for testing AVs.

  10. Ironclad

    Minimum 360 degree video footage

    You'd think the minimum data recording requirements would be 360 degree video footage (at a decent resolution) so that any incidents or accidents can be properly reviewed.

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