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Driverless Cars to Take to The Road

Driverless Cars to Take to The Road

Caroline Kelly, Personal Injury Associate comments on plans to run driverless cars trials in 2015.

After commenting earlier this week on Sainsbury's high-tech lorries, I was interested to read the news that driverless car trials are set to take place from January 2015. The cars, which will be guided by a system of sensors and cameras, will be driven on public roads in a series of trials over an 18-36 month period.

Driverless cars are already used in places such as Japan, America and Sweden but an AA/Populus survey showed that 43% of AA members did not think that even trials of the technology should be allowed.

For my part, I am all for technological advances and I can see the advantages such as being able to read or get on with work whilst on a long commute, just as I might do if I were to take the train.

I do have to confess that I think I would find it difficult to give up control of my vehicle to a computer and allow a computer to determine the appropriate speed for the driving conditions and layout of the road ahead me. I also wonder how a computer would deal with sudden changes such as a pedestrian stepping out in front of the car, or another car on the road making a sudden stop or change of direction. Equally, if the computer makes a mistake and causes a crash, is the driver – who hasn't actually been driving the car – responsible or is it the hardware and software within the car?

I will certainly be interested to see the outcome of the trials and whether the UK then starts to embrace a move towards driverless cars.

Caroline Kelly is an Associate and Solicitor Advocate in Thorntons Personal Injury Team. If you have any questions about making a personal injury claim, please contact Caroline at

Posted by Caroline Kelly

Partner & Solicitor Advocate

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