Re: Missing the obvious
"There's a more fundamental case of missing the obvious. Why do the British government want to see experimentation on the British public?"
Off the top of my head:
- improved traffic management reducing congestion and allowing traffic to adjust to changing conditions (i.e. a blocked lane on the choosen route)
- reduced congestion reducing pollution
- potential safety improvements over self-drive (i.e. the removal of high risk activities such as dangerous overtaking, speeding)
- reduced costs/improved management of cargo logistics
- AV vehicles will likely increase the rate of change from petrol/diesel to electric vehicles benefiting the environment and helping meet pollution/CO2 targets.
- the security implications of AV allowing monitoring of potential suspects (equally scary from a big brother perspective, but you asked why does the government like it) and the potential to reduce the risk of vehicles being used in a dangerous fashion given the events in the UK/France/US/Germany.
None of these rely on owning the technology, but all present potential economic improvements over existing systems.
And I'm less pessimistic about the country benefiting from systems developed in the UK, even if they are sold. Getting some of a large amount of money is still better than getting none.