A study has found that Britons are nervous about the prospect of autonomous vehicles. The survey by OnePoll, for Thales, questioned 2,000 UK adults and discovered that 23 per cent are apprehensive when they consider the possibility of self-driving cars making it to the roads by 2021, while 20 per cent felt fearful. Only 12 per cent felt optimistic or excited, with 16 per cent agreeing that they would feel safe in an autonomous car.

The UK government aims to see completely self-driving cars on the roads by 2021, and is assisting industry as it moves towards autonomy, by backing various consortia, including MERGE Greenwich. These consortia investigate how autonomous ride-sharing might work within the transport network in London.

In 2017, the project was headed by the Addison Lee Group, which paired with Oxbotica to try to bring self-driving ride-sharing to London by 2021. In 2018, in preparation for the launch of self-driving cars, both partners remarked that they would create digital maps featuring more than 250,000 miles of public roads in the London area.

Connected and autonomous vehicles (CAV) and CAV-related technology are judged to be worth up to £57 billion to Britain’s car industry by 2035, according to the Transport Systems Catapult.

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There is information about the public’s self-drive privacy concerns here: https://blogs.thomsonreuters.com/answerson/privacy-concerns-self-driving-cars-ready-autonomous-vehicles/.

Using simulators

Dr Alvin Wilby, VP of Research, Innovation and Technology at Thales UK, commented that self-driving cars must be viewed as safe by the public. He sees flight simulators as the route to confidence. For example, pilots are rigorously trained and tested, using simulators, to guarantee flight safety. Meanwhile, an autonomous vehicle can be put through limitless scenarios through simulation to make sure that the vehicle is perfectly safe.

The CEO of Latent Logic, Kirsty Lloyd-Jukes, heads a company that creates high-fidelity AI-based models of human behaviour. Latent Logic is involved in OmniCAV, a project working towards creating a scheme for certifying autonomous cars. OmniCAV uses detailed road maps to make a lifelike simulation environment for testing autonomous vehicles.

Product specialist at XPI Simulation, Timothy Coley, remarked that simulation will allow you to test on a much bigger scale than would otherwise be possible in the real world, and it’s 100 per cent safe.