back to article Britons ambivalent about driverless car tech, survey finds

A third of Brits would use a fully driverless car, a third would not, and the majority want to summon them via an Uber-style app, according to polling carried out for the UK Autodrive consortium. Conducted by researchers at Cambridge University's Engineering Department and the Department of Psychology, the survey consisted of …

  1. The 13th Duke of Wybourne

    Integrated transport system

    Gimme an app. I tell it where I am, where I wanna go to and it gives me a choice about how I get there, the time it take and at what cost. e.g Pick me up in a driverless car, take me to the train station, the app has booked my train ticket. at the destination train station another driverless car is waiting to take me to my final destination. If there's a problem, traffic jam, cancelled train etc, the app reroutes in realtime, gives me other choices and costs and we can chose one of those. At the end of journey it gives me one bill.

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Integrated transport system

      We can't even get luggage from A to B 100% of the time. You really want to risk all that?!

    2. short

      Patent-bashing

      Just on case it hasn't already been patented...

      Can I have bluetooth, wifi or other short-range wireless homing between car and customer's phone, so it can actually manage the final stage of finding the customer. I don't think the mapping is yet good enough to reliably locate which house / flat / hovel is which, and it'll be annoying to have to walk half a mile to get to a car that's arrived by postcode only... Likewise, finding the autonomous car that's come to pick me up from the station, rather than the hundred other people. This doesn't work well, even with experienced taxi drivers, and is going to need a solution - and I haven't seen it discussed yet.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Patent-bashing

        "finding the autonomous car that's come to pick me up from the station"

        It'll be the one shouting "paging Mr. Short" through it's loudspeaker and competing with all the others shouting for their passengers.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

        2. Marketing Hack Silver badge
          Devil

          Re: Patent-bashing

          @Doctor Syntax

          I know it is my juvenile dark side and appreciation of The Simpsons talking, but now I am imagining a train station surrounded by Uber-cars calling out for arriving passengers:

          1) Mike Hunt

          2) Hugh Jass

          3) Amanda Hugginkiss

          etc.

      2. DougS Silver badge

        @short - "don't think the mapping is yet good enough"

        A car only has to find your house once, and then it (and all other cars it shares its mapping info with) will know how to find you, and even remember special instructions like coming around the back of your house if you have an alley that's closer.

        So I wouldn't really worry about this as an issue. For the destination it doesn't matter since you can give it precise instructions exactly where you want to be let off.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Integrated transport system

      how I get there, the time it take and at what cost

      And what do you do when it sucks air though it's virtual teeth, pauses, and repies "Hmm, I wouldn't start from here, guv."?

    4. macjules Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Integrated transport system

      This is London we are talking about, right? The city where cyclists, motorcycle couriers, Uber drivers with Outer Mongolian driving licences, demonic black cabbies and psychopathic London Bus drivers all conspire to kill, maim or injure each other for the right to use an ever decreasing road space?

      Good luck with introducing driverless cars into THAT quagmire. Black cabbies (the car, not the drivers' skin colour) are practically taught to pull across traffic without notice to get a fare.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Integrated transport system

        "Black cabbies ... are practically taught to pull across traffic without notice to get a fare."

        And have the turning circle to do it.

  2. short

    Sunday (autonomous) driving

    Having driven far too much last Sunday - is there going to be a speed control button on these things, so the elderly can set it to FUCKING DAWDLE at 35 on country roads, and then FUCKING SPEED at 40 through 20-limited residential areas?

    If not, I can't see them getting a lot of use.

    Automatic transmissions piss me off - 'like giving your drunk friend in the passenger seat the clutch pedal and gear lever'. I look forward to handing my drunk friend full control, oh yes.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

      Have you tried peering through other peoples windows at 40mph?

      1. SteveK

        Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

        Have you tried peering through other peoples windows at 40mph?

        I need glasses. It took me two reads to spot the 'R' in 'peering'.

    2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

      Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

      "Automatic transmissions piss me off - 'like giving your drunk friend in the passenger seat the clutch pedal and gear lever'. I look forward to handing my drunk friend full control, oh yes."

      I concur. I have always been annoyed by automatic gearboxes. Without exception they make decisions I don't agree with and there is very little I can do about it. Coupled with the fact that I am just about the worst, most nervous passenger EVER, I do not anticipate enjoying the concept of the car driving itself.

      I don't need my car to brake automatically for me.

      I don't need my car to park itself for me.

      I don't need my car to adjust my steering angle because it thinks I'm not paying attention to the road / conditions / other traffic.

      I'll stick to driving my car myself, thanks all the same.

      I care about driving, I enjoy driving, my car is not just a tool to me, it is a wonderful machine, unique and distinctive, even amongst others of the same model. I understand it, I can hear AND feel when something is wrong, I don't need the computer to tell me. I'm sure a car which drives itself is a massive boon to those who hate driving or see it as a massive inconvenience, or just aren't bothered. Me? I love all aspects of it and I will continue to enjoy it for as long as possible.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

        I'd say modern day autos are pretty good especially DSG ones and you can always stick it in to "manual" and change yourself. We used the self park feature in the wives company car, a Merc and it was a bit rubbish parked ok but was about 2ft from the curb!

    3. DwarfPants

      Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

      35 mph are you sure that is correct. I have always experienced this phenomenon as 40 on dual carriageway, 40 on A roads, 40 on B roads, 40 in 30 zones, 40 in 20 zones, 40 past the school, hospital, old people home. Its almost like there is only one speed, or the driver is too lazy to do any thinking.

      Auto gearboxes, I am sure there must be good ones out there, but I have only experienced ones that wanted me to be sure the acceleration was what I really, really wanted. By the time it decided I did and and changed down, a nice safe gap turned into a clean trousers requirement.

      1. Captain Hogwash Silver badge

        Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

        Never tried an automatic but upvote for the 40 everywhere. My experience matches this exactly.

      2. wolfetone Silver badge

        Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

        One jackass yesterday (so he didn't even have Sunday as an excuse) was dawdling along at 40mph on a national speed limit dual carriageway. I was behind him, the moment I could overtake I did. But another jackass in a BMW came speeding up, so I decided to go back in front of the first jackass once overtaken.

        The original jackass then flashes his lights at me, and made several rude hand gestures. It wasn't until he came up behind me (I had got to a red light) that I could see him calling me a wanker, with his blue badge on display on the dashboard.

        I'm guessing it's not for the movement in his wrist at least.

      3. FlossyThePig

        Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

        @ DwarfPants

        Have you tried using kickdown?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

          I really like the CVT automatics. Hate intensely the tiptronics and selectors. You're right about them picking awkward change over revs. My old Rover 114 SLi had a CVT auto. Died a death when the CVT belt corroded through on one side, £400 for a rebuild / repair, but the car was only worth £200 anyway, and £100 of that was the stereo.

          Now I've got the CVT in the Prius - the only way to couple all the drive systems sensibly was using a planetary, and it works beautifully. Plenty of torque from that electric motor, then the ICE kicks in as you speed up. The only disconcerting thing is when you're stopped and the engine starts up to charge the battery - rocks the whole car forward and back as the torque from the engine finds its way through the system.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

            "rocks the whole car forward and back as the torque from the engine finds its way through the system."

            It must be very embarrassing if there's anyone following.

          2. Chris Parsons

            Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

            Prius, the car for people who hate cars.

        2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

          Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

          Have you tried using kickdown?

          Kickdown is great on a torque-convertor auto linked to a decent, torquey naturally-aspirated engine. On a modern DSG box with a little turbocharged lump attached, kickdown tends to become "pause, jerky downchange, screaming revs, slow acceleration until turbo kicks in, zoom" invariably followed by an upchange and drop in acceleration halfway through the overtaking manoeuvre. At least with a manual you can change down smoothly and get the turbo spinning in preparation, ready for the gap.

          1. MrNed

            Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

            "Kickdown is great on a torque-convertor auto linked to a decent, torquey naturally-aspirated engine"

            I can vouch for that: The only automatic I've ever owned or driven was an old Jag XJS that - for some reason - I convinced myself was worth buying. The automatic box was in fact excellent and very easy to control. It's kickdown was responsive to how you were driving, and really easy to control through the accelerator: Plant your foot down to overtake and the box would instantly react, dropping one or two cogs as appropriate, and then upshifting at suitably high-rev points. Then, once past the dawdler / lorry / whatever, a slight relaxation on the accelerator is all it would take for it to settle back to smooth low-rev cruising. It became very natural very quickly, and I never once missed having manual shift (although regularly missed having a reliable car!).

            1. The Original Steve

              Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

              Oh I don't know, I've always insisted on manual transmission, but took a BMW with their wizz-bang / charge the earth "sports" gearbox and it blew me away.

              I brought the car and whilst I can drop it into flappy paddle mode or use the center console stick to go ma ual I never do.

              The dual turbos gets around the tradition lag on kickdowns and the sat nav is integrated with the gearbox too so incline / decline and corners are taken into account, as well as the driving mode too.

              Certainly changed my mind. YMMV.

              1. Toltec

                Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

                " but took a BMW with their wizz-bang / charge the earth "sports" gearbox"

                It was a £150 option on mine, very rarely specified though, the steering wheel paddles are handy for overtaking, however most of the time it just stays in drive and I knock the lever over into sport on the approach to tighter bends so it will use a lower ratio. Mine has the ZF6 and I hear the ZF8 is better still at being in the right gear.

            2. Roland6 Silver badge

              Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

              "Kickdown is great on a torque-convertor auto linked to a decent, torquey naturally-aspirated engine"

              I can vouch for that: The only automatic I've ever owned or driven was an old Jag XJS ...

              I agree, the best automatic I had was a 1980's Audi with a carburettor and accelerator cable - kickdown, did exactly what it said on the tin.

              I've found that modern drive-by-wire cars - both manual and automatics (eg. Qashqai) have real problems with the concept of a quick get away at traffic lights.

        3. nijam

          Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

          > Have you tried using kickdown?

          That's what he's describing. Auto gearboxes just aren't that good at it.

          1. Chris Parsons

            Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

            Bollocks. I have an ageing Jag S Type R, 4.2 supercharged V8. Kickdown means kickdown, believe me.

        4. Dwarf Silver badge

          Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

          @ DwarfPants

          Have you tried using kickdown?

          Standing up (as much as I can) for my vertically challenged brethren

          Kicking Down Dwarfs in Pants ain't allowed.

      4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

        "Auto gearboxes, I am sure there must be good ones out there"

        I'm not sure. An auto gearbox can only respond to what's happened, it can't anticipate. My car has an indicator to signal what gear it thinks I should be using. It regularly tells me I should change up again just before I encounter an uphill hairpin bend. Presumably if it were an automatic it would actually do that and then change down again.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

          @Doctor Syntax .... There are good ones. A new DSG can change gear in 8ms, so it can go up then back down again in the blink of an eye without you even noticing. You can also choose the style of gear changing you want. A sporty ride with more emphasis on low gear high revs, comfy cruising or an economical driving style.

          In sport mode it will beat the same car with a manual box over a 0-62, and in economy mode it will give better mpg than driving manually. You milage may vary.

          1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

            Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

            "A new DSG can change gear in 8ms, so it can go up then back down again in the blink of an eye without you even noticing."

            A handy trick to fix mistakes but it still falls some way short of anticipating needs.

            "You can also choose the style of gear changing you want"

            I can do that with a manual without telling a machine.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

            they can change gear far better than a human. Auto's used to be toilet back in the day 70's, 80's etc auto's didn't do as many miles to the gallon as manual's now its the other way around, shows how far auto's have come.

      5. NXM

        Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

        True, but you forgot about them driving down the middle of a country lane for miles and miles and miles, past passing places aplenty while totally ignoring you behind, getting later and later for whatever it was you had to get to, flashing your lights, leaving the indicator on all the time, and fuming.

        Selfish bastards.

        1. Nick Kew Silver badge
          FAIL

          Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

          getting later and later for whatever it was you had to get to, flashing your lights, leaving the indicator on all the time, and fuming.

          It's not me guv: last time I drove anything was in 2005, when I hired a white van to move house.

          But if you behave like that behind me when I'm out on my bike, I'll certainly be tempted to make a special effort to slow down and NOT let you past. Quite the opposite to how I'll treat the vast majority of road users who behave in a civilised manner.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

          2. NXM

            Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

            "But if you behave like that behind me when I'm out on my bike, I'll certainly be tempted to make a special effort to slow down and NOT let you past. Quite the opposite to how I'll treat the vast majority of road users who behave in a civilised manner."

            Bikes? Where did that come from? I never even mentioned bikes, and treat them as vulnerable as pedestrians. If you deliberately block other road users because you don't like something they're doing, on a bike, then you're breaking the law and putting yourself at risk. Not a good idea at all.

            No, its the elderly, tourists, or worst of all, elderly tourists. They seem to think that if they're on holiday, everyone else must be as well.

    4. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

      "is there going to be a speed control button on these things, so the elderly can set it to FUCKING DAWDLE at 35 on country roads"

      As an elderly country dweller my problem is with townies of all ages who come here, park in dangerously daft places irrespective of the proximity of car parks, when walking can't work out how to maintain maximum visibility in winding lanes and when driving can't work out an appropriate speed (that works for both alternatives*). Worse still, those who come cycling and worst of all, organize cycling events.

      Walking parties who lack anyone who can read their map are another nuisance. I watched one party turn back a few yards short of the corner beyond which was the clearly marked (on OS and in reality) start of a public footpath and then head of up what was clearly signed as a private road instead.

      *There are a great many roads here where your 35 would be vastly excessive as well as those which seem to attract drivers who are unable to maintain speeds uphill.

      1. short

        Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

        Oddly, I don't grumble at all when 35 (or lower) is an appropriate speed. It's the oblivious '35 is the right speed in any circumstance' that I (and others, seemingly) find vexing. I just don't understand how one can drive like that? Is the act of steering so overwhelming that there's no capacity left for altering the speed? Clearly it's not a safety thing, or they'd back off through the lower limit sections. I'm honestly baffled. Anyone who tends to do this want to pop on an anonymous mask and give me a hand?

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

          "It's the oblivious '35 is the right speed in any circumstance' that I (and others, seemingly) find vexing."

          IME it's been a safe rule of thumb for at least half a century that the driver doing 35 in a 30 area will also be the driver that does 35 in a 40 area and vice versa. There's something magic about that number.

        2. PassingStrange

          Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

          "Anyone who tends to do this want to pop on an anonymous mask and give me a hand?"

          Serious answer. I'm early 60s, and I don't do this. But I do have a suspicion - I think it has a lot to do with physical capability, reaction times, caution and confidence (rather like the well-documented tendency of elderly drivers to cling to the middle of the road). My own years of always driving like a bat out of hell, if they ever existed, are long behind me; now it's all about comfort zones. On dual carriageways I know, for example, that when I'm feeling wide awake and alert, and the road is reasonably empty, I can struggle to stop my speed straying well over the limit. Whereas if I'm very tired, I'm much more likely to potter along in the inside lane at a good 10mph under the limit - it may take longer to get places, but it's what feels comfortable and within my ability to react, at the time (and I know that my reaction times aren't what they used to be - and if I ever forget that, I only have to go play a video game or two against someone younger, to get my nose rubbed in the fact). And personal observation somewhat bears that out; for example, I remember a couple of elderly relatives of my wife, both of whom were medically fit and deemed competent to drive, but who in practice could be downright scary to be in the car with at "higher" speeds (which, in one of the two cases, by the time they stopped driving, was anything over about 25mph). I've noticed the same sort of thing with other, elderly friends, too - mostly, the older, the slower. So it could well be that those "35 mph everywhere" drivers are actually reckless, devil-may-care elderly speed-freaks, utterly ignoring the limits and belting along at what passes, in their cases, for comfortably flat out...

    5. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sunday (autonomous) driving

      Oh so you're the tit who instantaneously appears around a blind, wet, rural bend at 47 mph. Still, when you're not overtaking the aforementioned elderly driver at least you sometimes appear on the correct side of the road on that blind bend. Of course that won't help you next time there's a combine harvester there, or your doppelganger.

  3. jMcPhee

    If people were really interested in this technology, it would have been implemented to a lesser extent. For example, smart speed and brake controls would be common. How long has cruise control been out there? How little does it get used?

    Self driving cars look like the next 3D TV.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Do any commentards have self-parking? If so does it get used or is it a neat gimmick that gets ignored after you've played with it a couple of times?

      The 3DTV comparison might be the right one if people are so used to doing these tasks that having them automated doesn't seem like enough of a benefit to be worth paying for.

      1. abedarts

        Agreed, never use my self parking its such a faff. I think the problem is with the implementation not the general idea, if it just realised you were hovering near a parking space and said 'park here sir/madam?' and then got on and did it, that would be great. But the system on my car is so unintuitive I can never remember how to do it, which is surely a sign of bad design.

        We part company on self driving though - bring it on, I can't wait.

      2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

        My partners car has the self parking facility. It was used to make sure it worked when she first got the car, and it gets used whenever there's a new person in the car to show off to but the rest of the time, it just gets parked manually.

        Other peoples MMV

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Cruise control veteran - wouldn't buy a car without it. No so much about the other stuff, maybe parking sensors when you want to get extra close.

        1. AMBxx Silver badge

          Cruise control is great in roadworks, saves quite a few tickets. More usefully, I used to have a car with a speed limiter - I could set a maximum speed at any time, allowed me to control the speed through roadworks without exceeding the speed limit.

          Self parking - nope. Had it, never used it. I think it's more useful with an automatic gearbox.

          Self breaking - no chance - had a warning system that told me I should break. would forever go off for no reason. Certainly wouldn't trust on a motorway.

          1. earl grey Silver badge
            Trollface

            @AMBxx - Self breaking

            Every car I ever owned could self break. None of them had automatic braking though.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            I've got a limiter and cruise control, I drive on country lanes down here in Cornwall so never use cruise but use the limiter quite a bit for going through villages and when I'm in Plymouth.

            1. werdsmith Silver badge

              Yes, limiter all the time - the thing reads the street signs and self limits. I also use cruise at every opportunity, and there are many.

      4. Chemist

        "Do any commentards have self-parking?"

        Yes ( for years ) and I NEVER use it - what's the point ? If I drive another car I still have to know how to park it. Where I normally park on our drive it can't cope anyway.

        Cruise control on the other hand - fabulous for (French and other empty ) motorways. Means I can exercise/move both legs easily. Adaptive CC takes a little getting use to.

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Yes...

          Auto-park on the Prius. Used it the first few months out of novelty value, but got bored as it's so slow, and I don't trust it anyway. Now, I'll only use it once in a blue moon, usually to scare someone who hasn't seen it before. Activate it, yawn and stretch, then with the hands off the wheel it just quietly backs into a space.

  4. Professor Clifton Shallot

    Option to drive manually

    How might this work with people who for whatever reason do not have a valid driver's licence?

    1. AMBxx Silver badge

      Re: Option to drive manually

      They're still arguing about liability. Will probably be a temporary fudge between the government an insurance companies until it becomes clearer.

      Some great philosophical arguments about who an autonomous car should kill in the event of an unavoidable accident though!

    2. Francis Boyle Silver badge

      Re: Option to drive manually

      If you don't have a licence you don't exercise the option, same as when you've had one too many. What is it about driverless cars that causes people to constantly overthink the problems?

      1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

        Re: Option to drive manually

        Francis Boyle,

        It's not over-thinking. There's a lot to think about. If the car was brand new now, it would be a lot more tightly regulated - given how easy it is to kill/injure yourself and other people with one.

        Just how reliable are we expecting self-driving cars to be? At the moment planes can fly themselves, and have been able to for years. But we still don't let them. For example, auto-landing systems can't lower the undercarriage or flaps. Even though I'm sure that could be done with some pretty simple software changes. And the pilots are supposed to take over for the last bit of landing anyway.

        We're now having the debate about using the automation a bit less, so that the pilots have more hands-on experience for those times when the automatic systems get out of their depth and dump control onto the pilot.

        Now admittedly driverless cars shouldn't ever be going faster than 70mph on the motorway, and ideally shouldn't be airbourne. So this makes the safety easier. But safety people tend to be cautious. So there'll be a big debate about whether driverless cars should just have a default braking behaviour - or whether they should dump control to the meatsack when they don't know what to do.

        If they decide that non-professional meatbags will be too distracted and confused to take over - then they'll have to come up with a bunch pre-programmed stopping behaviours. If they can't think of safe ways to do that, then they'll either ban the cars, or allow the fiction that control can be handed over safely and hope for the best. On the assumption that the automatic systems will prevent more accidents than they cause.

        As someone who can't see well enough to get a licence, this is of direct interest to me. If they go the hand control over route, you'll still need a driving licence to be allowed to operate one. My feeling is that it'll be at least 5-10 years from them being legalised for hands-off driving for normal plebs - before someone like me is legally allowed to use one.

  5. DailyLlama

    It's fine...

    For someone else, as long as it keeps to the left lane on motorways and not hog the middle lane, so I can overtake them.

  6. Complicated Disaster
    Pint

    One Good Reason

    I'll have one when it can drive me home from the pub after 10 pints.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One Good Reason

      This seems like an obvious use case - and a good reason for someone to develop an in-car post-pub nosh-dispensing machine.

      1. short

        Re: One Good Reason

        Oh gawd - how much 'advertising' budget would it take for self driving cars to tend to route drunkards home via a particular brand's drive-thru?

      2. ZanzibarRastapopulous

        Re: One Good Reason

        > (...) in-car post-pub nosh-dispensing machine.

        The late-night kebab bus!

        How has no-one thought of this before!?!?!?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: One Good Reason

      I'll have one when it can drive me home from the pub after 10 pints.

      Unfortunately "being in charge of a vehicle" when drunk is the offence, it doesn't say "driving". If you called it and told it where to go you're arguably "in charge".

  7. Your alien overlord - fear me

    Why are there windows in a fully autonomous car? It should have surround screens so you can pretend you're been driven on Mars or underwater. That my friends, is the future.

    For doctors, driving inside the human body aka The Incredible Journey would be an add-on extra.

    1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      With or without Raquel Welch in a skintight jumpsuit?

      1. werdsmith Silver badge

        Nothing against OAPs but I might like someone younger than 76...

  8. Thomas Steven 1

    Yes, can I spec my self driving car

    I want a shower, a toilet and a sofa/bed and TV and a wardrobe.

    I don't want windows.

    Make my journey to work perfect.

    Fall out of bed and into the car. Perform 3 Ss in car. Get dressed in car. Arrive at work.

    Drive me with no heavy braking or acceleration to allow the above to happen.

    On way home catch up on TV/internet

    Sleep in car if necessary/fallen out with wife/car's better than my house

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yes, can I spec my self driving car

      It's called a camper van ..... with a chauffeur ..... and curtains.

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

      Re: Yes, can I spec my self driving car

      Thomas Steven 1,

      NO! NO! NO! NO!

      Not get into car. Alarm clock comes on with Thunderbirds music. Bed tilts up and pours you down a chute to the garage. Where you're loaded in through the roof of your car.

      Possibly pouring you into your trousers as well. In which case you also need Wallace and Grommit music.

      Some sort of auto-breakfast machine seems very important as well.

    3. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Yes, can I spec my self driving car

      3Ss ?

      Isn't it 3 SHs ? Or even 4 SHs or maybe one W plus 3 SHs?

  9. Version 1.0 Silver badge

    Ambivalent? That's a bit optimistic.

    It's not going to happen, there are too many situations where driverless cars simply don't work and will never work - sure, driving down the motorway is possible but let's face it - overall, if we returned to the pre-Beeching days it would be a hell of a lot easier (and cheaper) to take the train.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Ambivalent? That's a bit optimistic.

      The mistake is to think that driving requires an inordinate amount of skill. It doesn't. Any old fool can drive a car with a few hours of tuition. Controlling a car with software is very easy. Acceleration, braking steering, speed maintenance, road position etc. are all simple bits of physics based code not vastly different from what you will find in the better car racing games. It's easy for them because they have hard data about where the road goes and exactly what all the other road users are doing.

      Humans understanding the dynamic visual scene, i.e the path you need to take, what else is using the road and how fast are things moving however is eye to brain coordination that we learned in the first year or so after birth. Replicating that with software is a vast challenge, but not necessarily an unsolvable one. Computer learning using massive amount of parallel processing has advanced a lot in recent years. Extracting the key elements from a moving visual scene and working out which matter and which don't is no longer a unsolvable problem.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Ambivalent? That's a bit optimistic.

        Controlling a car with software is very easy. Acceleration, braking steering, speed maintenance, road position etc. are all simple bits of physics based code not vastly different from what you will find in the better car racing games. It's easy for them because they have hard data about where the road goes and exactly what all the other road users are doing.

        So why aren't the driverless car luminaries not queuing up to run driverless car races? I mean if it is so simple, racing these cars round Silverstone et al will be a piece of cake...

        Perhaps we should be promoting the concept as it will give some real feedback on where the state-of-the-art is or isn't...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Ambivalent? That's a bit optimistic.

          @Roland6 ..... It would be easy to get them to go around the track fast (that, without the fast bit was demonstrated by the DAPA Urban Challenge of 2007), but it's not so easy to work out what the other cars in the race are doing. As such it would be an excellent technology demonstrator. It would be neat to run the race in two parts. The first race with the cars communicating so they are all aware of each others position, vector, expected path and rate of acceleration. The second race would be fully autonomous.

          It won't happen though as the high performance car is going to beat the low performance one from another manufacturer even if the autonomous "driver" is better. Also by virtue of it being perceived as a race the cars would be pushing the limits of their autonomous technology just as F1's push the limits of manual car technology. Accidents would happen and this would be portrayed by some as a failure of self driving technology, so the manufactures would inevitably collude to make it a safe but slowish procession ...... and a hideously boring spectator sport.

  10. Haku

    I'll take a driverless car please.

    I passed my driving test first time with no faults, but I don't like driving, I'd rather be doing something more interesting, like posting crap online ;)

    1. VinceH Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: I'll take a driverless car please.

      How do you digitise the turds?

      1. Haku

        Re: I'll take a driverless car please.

        You've seen Tron?

  11. earl grey Silver badge
    Trollface

    gawping out the window

    "Most of Blighty's ex-drivers would also spend their time in a driverless car gawping out the window"

    So just like now?

  12. TRT Silver badge

    The ONLY time I want driverless...

    Is a button on my phone that brings my car to me. If I'm not inside the thing, I don't care if it's driven by a robot. So often, I've gone for a wander around a place and found myself fucking miles from where I left it, with only 15 minutes on the ticket and it's a bloody panic trying to work out how to get back in time: my sense of direction tells me it can be done, but town planners seem intent on blocking the straight line paths to places with shitty little boxy estates with no footpaths, 8 foot high garden fences at every turn, and every turning off the winding, winging road leads into a dead end close with no way through.

  13. rmason Silver badge

    This sort of survey won't really tell anyone anything at the moment.

    I'd suggest quite the amount of people asked about this don't really believe that it will either ever happen, or happen in their lifetime, or that they will be able to afford if when/if it does happen.

    1. Nick Kew Silver badge

      I don't believe I'll be able to afford it. At least, not enough to choose to spend such a vast amount on one toy. Same applies to an old-fashioned human-driven car, though I realise I'm in a minority there.

      But to be able to summon one with an app seems truly liberating. Great halfway-house between working to regular public transport routes&timetables and the hassle and expense of a taxi (with pot-luck driver). While we can't yet foresee all the details, I expect that's what most people look forward to.

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Kidnapping-as-a-service

    I imagine with driverless cars, it would be fairly straight forward to set up compromised vehicles which could be intructed to lock the doors the re-route to a destination of the attacker's choice.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Kidnapping-as-a-service

      So a bit like Uber?

    2. Nick Kew Silver badge

      Re: Kidnapping-as-a-service

      I'm sure that service been around since at least the era of James Bond.

      Come to think of it, yes I can think of much earlier instances too.

  15. DrXym Silver badge

    Hardly surprising

    I bet most people encounters one or more problems in a daily commute that an automated vehicle would struggle to solve in a correct or even remotely acceptable way.

    Automated cars are probably fine on a closed loop circuit, e.g. transferring people between airport terminals, or on certain stretches of roads like motorways. Standard urban commutes / city driving not so much.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Insurance Premiums

    Technology wont encourage people to move to driverless cars but insurance premiums might. Once insurance companies work out that self driving cars are less likely to have an accident than a human driven one premiums for those who want to drive themselves will soon start to encourage (force) the move to driverless cars.

    Imagine the difference in cost of insurance for an 18 year old new driver.

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: Insurance Premiums

      >Imagine the difference in cost of insurance for an 18 year old new driver.

      I think this, new young drivers who haven't learnt to drive in the way their parents drive, are probably the main market for driverless cars, followed by those who for various reasons were unable to drive a conventional car, but - because of differing legal requirements - are able to use a driverless car.

  17. TheElder

    The only way it can work

    There is just one way this no attention span thing is possible. It is the same as changing from left to right lane traffic.

    It must all happen on the same day. Somehow everyone on the road must have a (gift?) full driverless car.

    Personally I own a machine with a big V8. I do not drive it often since I have a very nice e-bike I hacked. But when I do drive the vehicle I absolutely insist on full control! If the other traffic is speeding then so do I. It is about maintaining a safe following distance and keeping up with the traffic. Then, when I approach a school zone I slow down more than the max limit. I like to give myself some Max Headroom. Kids are like kangaroos in Australia. There is no way to predict when they might jump into traffic.

    The word traffic makes me think of a car on drugs...

    1. Roland6 Silver badge

      Re: The only way it can work

      >It is the same as changing from left to right lane traffic.

      Now there is a test for a driverless car: take a car intended for use on UK roads and take it to the continent and see how it's software copes...

      1. katrinab Silver badge

        Re: The only way it can work

        Or even take it from England to Scotland, where there are a few subtle differences in road signs, eg (70) instead of ( / ) in some places.

  18. Gordan

    NIMBY-ism Strikes Again

    **

    "The implication is 'everyone else except me'," noted the researchers, "a response which suggests an element of uncertainty, or lack of trust, in the new technology."

    **

    That sounds like the very definition of NIMBY-ism, however they try to dress it up.

  19. imispgh2

    Lockheed Engineer/Whistleblower

    Everyone should be very skeptical of what is going on because the process most of these companies are using to reach L3-L5 will not only fail but literally cause thousands of avoidable casualties as they move from the benign scenarios they run now to the more complex and dangerous. And finally running actual accident scenarios thousands of times to train the AI how to handle those scenarios the best they can. This is ALL avoidable if aerospace level simulation is used.

    Autonomous Levels 4 and 5 will never be reached without Simulation vs Public Shadow Driving for AI. Level 2+and L3 should not be used at all.

    Public Shadow Driving is Dangerous. Thousands of accidents, injuries and casualties will occur when these companies move from benign and easy scenarios to complex, dangerous and accident scenarios. And the cost in time and funding is untenable. One trillion public shadow driving miles would need to be driven at a cost of over $300B.

    For much more detail on the issues and how this can be resolved please see my article on LinkedIn

    Autonomous Levels 4 and 5 will never be reached without Simulation vs Public Shadow Driving for AI

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/autonomous-levels-4-5-never-reached-without-michael-dekort

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Trucks First!

    I don't think autonomous driving is going to catch on in passenger cars first. I think it will be trucks first.

    Firstly a passenger car generally has someone in it because that person is going somewhere. It's obligatory have it manned. With a truck the driver is only there because they're needed to drive the truck. A lot of people even like to drive, so don't want autonomous cars. Replacing the driver in a passenger car is making life easier for someone who could probably do the job themselves - replacing the driver in a truck will save a lot of money and eliminate an expensive job.

    Secondly. A human driver introduces a lot of expense and complexity. Not only do you have to pay them (and you can buy a LOT of tech for the wages of a driver over the life of a truck) you also have the complexity of rest breaks, working hours, agency drivers who don't turn up etc etc. True, a computer has no notion of the value of human life - but it has not emotional distractions either. It doesn't get bored. Or watch porn on it's mobile whilst driving. Or decide to have "one for the road". Or have a blazing row with it's partner and turn up for work in a bad mood and drive aggressively. It doesn't mind if you stick it on the road from Southampton to Glasgow at 3 AM and tell it to drive to Glasgow at 40mph (which will take a good 14 hours!) to save fuel. It doesn't get angry, it doesn't get sad, it doesn't laugh at your jokes. It just runs programs...

    Thirdly The cost of a typical passenger car is much lower than the cost of a truck - but the costs of automating the two are likely to be similar. So proportionally lower for the truck. Which you'll them get back in so many way.

    Forthly. Trucks spend a lot of time on motorways - where self-driving is easier to implement.

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