Industry scepticism over Google claims of driverless cars within five years


Despite the vehicles we drive getting ever more intelligent, the claims by Google that it will eliminate human driving in five years with a fully automated product available by 2020 are bold to say the least, according to some in the industry.

Plextek Consulting, which designs new products, systems and services for clients across a range of industries, says instead that a driverless future can only become a reality with the coming together of a number of diverse stakeholders who will need to work together in order to resolve the many debates and challenges the industry faces surrounding safety, security, reliability and liability.

It says the industry also needs to take on board independent perspectives that will help to increase public confidence and acceptance of a future where driverless cars will be a reality.

Andrew Ashby, automotive and transport business manager at Plextek Consulting, said that issues must be discussed and connectivity enabled at the highest level. “To realise the autonomous ‘dream’, industry and societal stakeholders must be brought together in order to discuss and resolve complex issues over safety, security, reliability and liability to ensure this revolutionary technology makes the leap from concept to reality,” he says.

Ashby adds: “To produce fully autonomous vehicle systems where drivers or owners will reap the full benefits - such as reduced journey times, insurance premiums and a healthier lifestyle overall - a whole new level of integrated connectivity over and above what Google call an ‘autonomous car’ is a fundamental requirement.”

Industry momentum can be achieved through five key steps according to Ashby. These include:

  • The passing of government legislation to allow such vehicles on the road
  • An acceptance of the risks and implications of new levels of connectivity for insurers since the driver or owner can no longer be held responsible
  • A shared agreement between manufacturers and service providers on standards for cyber-attack resilience
  • An adoption of international rules for interoperability
  • Manufacturers and service providers must agree as a partnership to standards for data sharing between vehicle to vehicle and vehicle to infrastructure communication

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