Do you remember when you learnt to drive and the one manoeuvre that you really hope wouldn’t come up in the test was a parallel park? Well, under new legislation from the government, future drivers may not need to learn parallel parking because the car will be able to do it itself. The latest government strategy in the digitalisation of driving is inviting companies to bid for the £30 million in funding to develop self-driving and self-parking cars for the UK market.
Business Minister Richard Harrington announced this month that companies are being invited to bid for the new funding which aims to bring self-driving vehicles to the UK roads. It is funded by the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Meridian – the hub for testing autonomous technology operated by the government. The joint investing venture is part of the government’s aim to see fully self-driving cars on the road by 2021.
The new initiative has a big focus on self-parking cars with the aim of ending driver’s problems with getting into those tight parking spots. The self-driving technology will be able to park vehicles in a range of different scenarios without the need for human intervention.
Part of the scheme is to fund two public testing sites in urban settings which will be the first of their kind in Europe. The idea is part of the Industrial Strategy’s Mobility Grand Challenge, to invest and shape the design, development and manufacture the ‘transport system of tomorrow.’
Change in the law
The new scheme follows the new rules announced last month that make it possible for drivers to use remote control parking. The changes involved the Highway Code and relevant regulations and were changed after a consultation earlier in the year saw overwhelming support from everyone including car manufacturers, insurers, and even haulage companies.
The developments include remote control parking and motorway assist. They have the potential to change car travel for those who have mobility challenges, making it possible to use tight parking spaces with computer accuracy in the parking of the car. It also has the potential to make cars more energy efficiency, cheaper and cleaner to run which also improves air quality for pedestrians.
The recent changes to the law mean that the UK takes a step closer to making the legal side of self-driving vehicles more achievable. The government has also tasked the Law Commission with a full review of driving laws and an update to the code of practice is planned to help the UK remain a great place to drive, but also cope with the self-driving car revolution.
How self-parking works
The technology used for self-parking is much the same as for collision avoidance systems and, ultimately, what will be used to make self-driving cars. With parking being one of the top reasons for failing driving tests, and a significant issue for many drivers, the demand for it is clear.
Jaguar Land Rover began testing their self-parking vehicles around Milton Keynes earlier in the year with a black Range Rover complete with fancy graphics and roof-rack sensors. So far, a safety driver is always present during the tests. JLR see the move as the next step towards autonomous cars, getting drivers used to the idea of giving some control to the vehicle without ceding all control.
Ford is also testing new systems including one called Collaborative Parking where Artificial Intelligence (AI) can assist drivers with parking while not taking over the manoeuvre entirely. The car will display a diagram, inside the vehicle, with red and green spots to help the driver find the right open space. It helps cut down on time spent looking for the right parking spot which, their estimates show, could use as much as a full day every year per driver.
Leading the way
Business Minister, Richard Harrington, said that self-driving vehicles have the potential to ‘revolutionise the way we move people and goods across the UK’ as well as their part in making for a greener future. The UK is already leading the way in developing this kind of technology, and the new initiatives aim to increase the pace of the development by offering additional funding.
Now, remote control functions can be used in a variety of ways including a key fob from the manufacturer to a device on a mobile phone. Overall, the driver must continue to maintain overall vehicle control. Changes to the Highway Code mean that there will be clarity about the use of such systems as well as changing lanes on the motorway. It will also look at the rules around using handheld devices while in the driving seat.
The UK has made another step towards automated driving. However, the question remains as to how many UK drivers would be willing to give up control of their vehicle, to a computer, and sit back and enjoy the ride.
Would you be happy in a car where a human wasn’t in control? Alternatively, would you want to always be in control of your car? Let us know in the comments below
Skoda’s self parking is wonderful and has been around for years
By 2021 I shall be 79, just the right age to cede control of my car to a computer. I look forward to enjoying the ride.
Why not go by bus at your age it is free. !!
I use the most appropriate mode of transport at the time, bus, train, car, boat, aircraft . . . I have a choice and I use my judgement as to the most appropriate form of transport.
Wow, given your comments why do you trust your judgement ? Surely you should be using an algorithm on your computer to decide for you ?
Good for you – but do you think it’s OK to deny all of those younger than yourself the freedom (to drive) that you’ve enjoyed most of your life?
we have an NHS in crisis but we can give away 30 million
This year, the NHS budget is £334 million *PER DAY*. Think for a moment about how much of that might be spent on respiratory problems and dealing with road accidents. There is a reason why governments spend money on transport R&D now to save themselves money in future.
If the system fails whilst parking one of these vehicles and it bangs into another vehicle who is responsible for repairs?
Is it the driver because they weren’t in full control of the vehicle?
Is it the manufacturer for having a faulty system?
The ABI says insurers will pay out, and drivers will not be unfairly held responsible for an accident they couldn’t prevent. Insurers will recover costs from manufacturers. https://www.abi.org.uk/products-and-issues/topics-and-issues/driverless-cars/
I’ll wait for the first test case if you don’t mind. The driver is ALWAYS responsible for the security and control of the car. If you believe insurance companies won’t squirm out of paying, you probably need to do a little research. What they SAY is rarely what they mean.
Funny that, a drunk hit my car whilst I was static in traffic, scraped all down it then drove off at circa 5 mph. All costs recovered from her insurer (eventually) I could do nothing to prevent this, it was not my fault. BUT my premium still went up next year. Discovered you cannot claim this back from other insurer.
Official explanation – statistically drivers whose vehicles are damaged by 3rd party fault will have more claims than others. I had had some 45 years of not claiming prior to this !!
But insurers will now-days increase your premium anyway as, according to their statistics, having been a victim of a no-fault accident you’re more likely to suffer another. Ask my friend who’s car was pushed off an elevated roundabout by a drunk lorry driver who never braked, or my daughter who had someone run into her when she was stationary at red traffic lights! Any insurers out there? Have the principles of insurance that were once at the heart of the industry been thrown out of the window?
Yes, and it’ll still affect your next year’s premium.
I suspect the same as if the handbrake fails and the car rolls away.
Well I’ve got this on my 2017 bmw 730d. I’ve had a play with it .you press a button and drive slowly past parking spots, car beeps an tells you to stop. Now remove hands an feet from controls, press and hold bottom down till car is parked. If you take your finger off the car does an emergency stop. Scary the first go travels well quick. Hardly use it as I drive bbc class 1 so a car is no problem.
Like Shed I always hold my bottom down until the car is parked.
Yes very good. Bloody phones self typing now! I put button.
LOL LOL what happens when the System goes down for the SELF PARKING MODE.. Also if the system makes a mistake and hits another car.. WHO PAYS,, the Car manufacturer OR your Insurance. I still prefer the OLD WAYS.
Look, if you don’t want to have control of your car, take the bloody bus!! Millions of drivers actually ENJOY driving their cars and are very good at it, including parallel parking. ” Revolutionise the way we move people and goods around the country”? We’re not bleeding cattle and there are trains if all you want is to be moved around the country. It’s just like all the diets and fancy pills that mean you don’t actually have to get off your Arris and do something! Leave our cars alone! If someone needs the car to drive for them, they shouldn’t have one!
People hack computers and steal information, etc. What would it take for someone, or terrosists, to hack into these computerised cars and create mayhem. It would be even worse if it was one of those driverless lorry convoys that have been mentioned.
Couldn’t agree more Rick. Computers play up as much as anything else made by humans. What idiot would want to travel at 70 mph on a busy motorway, in a car that is being controlled by a computer. My computer has just started playing up. I sure as hell wouldn’t to be anywhere near a car that was being controlled by it!!!
Robert have you ever heard of multiply redundant computer systems? Self repairing computer systems? Learn about safety critical computer systems before you compare a self driving car to a laptop.
Ah yes of course, like the new multiple redundancy fail safe systems at TSB.
TSB is not safety critical, something like railway signalling is. All safety critical systems are designed to fail safe in addition to usually being at least triply redundant.
Tell that to the relatives of the crew of Soyuz 11 – valve opened by computers killing them.
Don’t waste your time, most people are too dim to understand what you are talking about.
No, most people on here seem to be rightly paranoid. A refreshing change from the sleepwalking-into-safety attitude of most commenters on this subject around the web, presumably the majority of whom are American.
The potential for damage to be done when control of automated vehicles gets into the hands of terrorists doesn’t bear thinking about (I said when, not if). I am a software developer myself and know that software is never bug-free and never completely secure. It’s always only a matter of time before a breach occurs. We don’t see that with most systems only because the benefits don’t outweigh the effort and risks to breach, but I can’t imagine you could say that about automated vehicle control (vehicles fast becoming a terrorist’s weapon of choice).
You might want to learn a little more about I.T. before replying in such a vein. Didi you not notice the TSB computer fiasco of recent weeks, and yes financial institutions have all the things you mention, not to mention massive Beta testing before implementation.
oh yea, perhaps I should mention that I am a Chartered Information Technology Professional.
Have you ever heard of security breaches?
What idiot would want to travel at 70 mph on a busy motorway, in a car that is being controlled by a computer? — Well, you do exactly that. Unless you only drive a pre-1980 classic, of course.
So you haven’t flown on a jet plane for ya holidays this century then? Cos there flown by computers, pilot is only there to blame when it goes wrong. Oops sorry to try an fly it back safely.
Right on the nail Rick. Love it!!
I fly long haul flights a few times a year.
I am happy to sit back and let the computers fly the plane for 99% of the time.
Without computers, flying would not be possible in the form it is today with such numbers in the air at one time.
I know, I am one of the software engineers who program them.
It will be the same with cars, once they have been developed to drive cars completely the roads will be much safer.
Safety – that’s all we need right? Safety – the reason it’s OK for governments to snoop on their citizens, the reason we stop our kids playing out, etc.
Some of us value our freedom more than safety. What would you rather say on your deathbed “I had a great life, took some risks I shouldn’t have, but I had great experiences” or “I was completely safe and I didn’t get hurt once. Glad I’ll be dead soon, I’m bored ****less.”
Perhaps you would be good enough to inform Robert shephard and BilletDoo, a few posts down, about safety critical computer systems and how the differ, ever so slightly, from a home computer?
A tad easier where there are no pedestrians, cyclists, animals, traffic lights, other vehicles on all sides within a couple of yards, etc. etc.
Another “expert” who knows nothing about safety critical computers or indeed the airspace environment.
Whilst “old George” may be slightly off target You appear to be unaware that under aviation law a pilot MUST be at the controls when landing / taking off etc. I.E where there is significant other air traffic etc. in other words human judgement is in control.
Choice….you drive if you want to, I’m not for turning 🙂
We are “bleeding cattle” as far as the government are concerned, tax livestock living on a farm to be more precise. The governments job is to keep us poor and so keep us working and hence maximise tax. The worst thing you can ever think about government is that they actually care about you. Government want control of every aspect of your life, next will be government controlled cars, government controlled energy distribution (and rationing) hence smart meters etc etc.
Peter Davis – absolutely. And what better way to sell all of this than to promise us we’ll be “safer”?
Could not agree more Rick.
Telling quangocrats that you might actually ENJOY driving, is totally ‘lost’ on them!
They probable think that anybody stating such views, should be classed as insane.
If people were more ‘involved’ with the actual act of driving, their would be less plonkers wandering all over the road, totally oblivious to what is happening around them!
But when it goes wrong what happens if you have never been taught
A saying. “if anything can or is able to go wrong IT WILL
Particularly humans. At least computers don’t get drunk!
Is it David Price or David Prick -sorry I can’t tell the difference? Perhaps he’s one of these arrogant people (sounds like he is) who steps off the pavement and as long as he gets eye contact with the driver makes the vehicle stop so he can get to the station or work without being impeded. All the time a computer is in control and people eventually have faith in the vehicle stopppng to avoid a pedestrian or cyclist the roads (which will still be needed for certain journeys) will be mayhem. People will just cross the road in front of autonomous vehicles and on their phones, children will not learn road sense and people, like disabled or less able or the elderly will have to wait for these arrogant people. It happens already in major cities. Well done David! It’s the mindset of people like you. Keep looking at your phone and walking into people and expecting everyone else to make way for you! And this is progress ?
Congratulations Martin for you win the prize for the most abusive and unsubstantiated comment on this blog.
The blog was intended to be about the merits or otherwise of computer controlled vehicles not a competition to see who could make the most abusive comment.
I am looking forward to motorway lane changing auto controls. Hopefully this will stop slip road drivers trying to join a dual carriageway or motorway at 70 mph and expecting the nearside land drivers to change speed or lanes to let them in or face a “near miss ” or an actual collision. It will also stop the do gooders from veering into the overtaking lane when approaching a slip road to leave a clear access which only feeds the aggressive expectation of many slip road users. I assume the Highway Code and driving lessons still expect slip road traffic to “merge” with traffic on the carriageway which has right of way not push it out of their way.
Will it also sound a warning to middle lane hoggers until they move over to a clear left hand lane?
MOT failure if it doesn’t work
As a 72 year old driver I like to maintain my skill levels, so wouldn’t use any of the recent gizmos like parking or lane assist. However, I can see the benefit of a totally autonomous vehicle system available to any user without the need for a licence. “Take me to the Kings Head, Autoford. I fancy a few beers.”. Just imagine how safe the roads will be without all the boy racers and d**kh**ds when manual driving is banned. Until, of course, Putin’s techies hack the system and cause nationwide chaos.
But it’s not all about safety – freedom is more important. And the sacrifice in safety from a terrorist / state-sponsored attack, as you suggest, negates the safety argument anyway.
How many examiners in this day and age think that people who pass their driving tests will improve their driving skills over time but don’t .Now with remote parking coming along we could end up with a lot more drivers who end being exactly the same.
I have been driving a self parking Toyota Auris Hybrid for several years. I was not aware that it was not legal.
I have one as well and it is legal because you’re still sat in it and have control of the brake & accelerator. What they’re talking about is you standing on the kerb letting the car park itself. This would be really useful in most multi story car parks. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve had to get passengers out first or shuffle over to the passenger side in order to get out of the car. It would also be useful to be able to park my car in my garage where there’s no space to park and actually get out of the car!! Tesla’s already do this with a phone app.
Great, as long as you are not the poor devil you park next too leaving them 6″ to get back in their car or wait for you !!
Landrover have a self parking car on sale now. Some years ago I took a test drive in one, rather disconcerting letting the car do it’s own thing. Parallel parking was fun, whilst parking in a bay was a little scary !
Great for tight spaces, but overall I prefer Human control. You can keep driver-less cars, thank you.
Have you noticed how self parking cars cause accelerated damage to the road surface by doing dry turns, often full lock to lock? Terrible.
I bet tyre manufacturers love them too.
Given the appalling standard of driving on our roads I am quite happy to be on Autopilot although how they will cope with lunatic behaviour is beyond me!?!
The irony is that self-parking cars are quite conservative when estimating the size of space required. I can park in a smaller space than a self-parking car will.
My Nissan Qashqai Tekna has had parking alomg with a nmber of other features for years
Funding something no one really wants and even less needs. 30m of taxpayers money, our money, going to private companies. It isnt a benefit to safety, economy or progress. It is simply a way to pass tax money to the rich.
Bottom line, if you want a self driving or self parking vehicle use the bus or train.
I would be very interested to see your evidence that it will be no benefit to safety, economy or progress?
I would not trust Jaguar LandRover to do anything after the problems I have had with my Jaguar XE. They would not accept there was a fault with the petrol gearbox software and then a year later (6 April 2018) they issued a software update to solve the fault, but did not tell me.
I enjoy driving, I enjoy parking, especially in awkward spaces. Parking can be challenging on occasions but that’s when I use the skills I’ve learned. I don’t want to lose skills, whether it’s parking or anything else. Where’s the satisfaction in that?
NO technology is yet 100% safe and can be hacked .You read about something every day
Self parking and self driving cars are for those who do not know how to drive and should not be allowed on the road ! Will a blind person be allowed to drive in a self driving car. ??
In as much as any person drives a self driving car, yes. And so will morons.
Not exactly new, I have a 2011 BMW that has park assist. I bought the car 4 years ago but have so far not bothered to even try it out. I prefer to drive the thing myself.
Not sure I would trust the car builders one iota when it comes to computer control. How long before they would use the operating software to drive the car in a certain way to effect the outcome of their claimed fuel efficiency claims and prioritise it above safety!?………
If drivers want this, that’s up to them, as long as they pay for it.
As far as I and many friends are concerned we are fed up with being forced to pay for gimmicks which we do not want or need when buying a car. The fact is many people are too lazy to put some effort into an important life skill. How many people take additional driving courses once they have’learned to drive’? Very few I guess.
Comparisons between computers in aircraft and cars are not really appropriate. Aircraft generally have multiple systems redundancy and cost hundreds of millions of dollars and have an onerous maintenance and checks regime. Cars, on the other hand, are just large consumer goods and subject to cost pressures and haphazard maintenance (obviously depending on the owner!). So think PC/smart-phone/smart TV rather than Boeing 777. My fuel injection settings put me into limp home due to a CPU/programme patch error. Sometimes my satnav has no idea where it is. Sometimes my I Phone won’t charge. My PC had a software-induced black screen that suddenly fixed itself and nobody seemed to know why. Sometime switching off and on works. I can live with a hi-tech car where the engine stops if the IT goes wrong,but not one that suddenly can’t work out where it is, steer, brake, and so on.
And on a separate aspect regarded the growing interest in assist and ‘autopilot’ – who really thinks the driver will be able to take control in a split second?
Personally I am cautious about ‘self driving’ cars but there are potential benefits for some of the most disadvantaged groups in society – including may who have to give up their driving licenses owing to eyesight defects, diabetes or physical disabilities. If – and it is a big if – we could develop proven safe self drive cars then there would be significant benefits in an ageing society vulnerable to health problems. Self drive has the potential to lessen the isolation that many elderly or incapacitated people suffer today.
Above all we need an ‘evidence based’ approach with properly funded independent research not ‘hunch’ driven policy – of which there is too much around at present. And the research needs to be properly presented by some independent organisation.
Having the option can only be a good thing! Lets face it, If you get on a plane you’re flying by Computer. Why not a car? It would save lives, as driver fatigue, mobile phone usage and drink- drug drivers all kill! I love to drive, but would be happy to have an option of letting the car eat up the miles on a long run home.
I don’t agree with dumbing down a test. People need to be able to drive competently! If you can’t parallel park, you shouldn’t be in charge of a car.
I noticed someone else mention the poor standards of driving with far too many motorists after passing tests and I have to say I agree whole heartedly ! I think motorists who pass a test should have to pass an advanced test within two years of passing their initial test , there should only be one attempt allowed , with proper high level verification of identity taking place , as opposed to far too many having tests sat for them . This might ensure proper improvement of driving standards after passing tests and possibly decrease the likelihood of drivers not bothering to keep up their skills after a test .