Driverless cars could be on the roads by 2021.
Last week, Chancellor Philip Hammond outlined in his speech that he envisions the UK to be one of the first countries to allow “genuine driverless cars” within four years.
“Some would say that's a bold move, but we have to embrace these technologies if we want the UK to lead the next industrial revolution," he told the BBC.
When asked about the potential loss of jobs for drivers, Hammond said that the country could not “hide from change” and that the Government needs to upskill people “to take up new careers.”
The Government added that the driverless car industry would be worth £28billion to the UK economy by 2035 and will support 27,000 jobs.
Speeding up to the opportunity, car companies are readying themselves to deliver. For example, last week Uber announced last week that it would buy up to 24,000 Volvo cars by 2021 to prepare a fleet of fully autonomous, on-demand passenger vehicles – FT reports. Jaguar Land Rover began testing driverless cars on public roads in Coventry city centre this year. And just a few weeks ago Navya revealed a new city taxi ready for production with no driving seat, steering wheel or brakes for a human driver, The Guardian reports.
However, critics have warned that these technological feats are far from ready. Jeremy Clarkson, former Top Gear presenter said he tested out a driverless car which made two mistakes within 50 miles that could have been life-threatening.
Writing in The Sunday times about the autonomous car industry, currently being developed, he said: “For now, we’re miles away from it.”
However, they could ease the stress on employees lives. A 2015 survey from Venson Automotive Solutions has revealed that company car drivers would welcome driverless cars as an option, with 62% saying they'd be happy to let their company car do the driving. Many said it would reduce the stress on their working day.
According to the survey, respondents see convenience, freedom to work during journeys, better safety and shift of responsibility for accidents, as the main benefits of driverless cars for work with 55% of respondents stating that they think driverless cars will actually reduce road traffic accidents too.
What are your thoughts? Are driverless company cars a risk, or an asset, or both? Tell us in the comments...