The Center for Connected Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) predicts that fully functional autonomous vehicles will be a reality in the UK by 2025. Known as Level 4-5 autonomous vehicles, these vehicles will be able to drive without a driver. Although some argue that this era began decades ago, recent advances in technology have made this prediction more plausible.
Until now, the operation of autonomous vehicles has been limited to controlled environments and separate infrastructures. However, it is expected that self-driving vehicles will be able to drive on major roads like any other vehicle within the next two years. California is already leading the way in this regard, taking a more relaxed approach to regulation.
The introduction of autonomous vehicles has sparked mixed reactions. While attempts by companies like Amazon are generating excitement, there have also been cases of autonomous vehicles blocking fire trucks and other emergency vehicles at intersections. As technology advances and people become more familiar with its use, many of these challenges are being addressed.
The integration of autonomous vehicles into regular traffic raises several questions. Safety is a primary concern, as is the necessary infrastructure that cities must develop to accommodate these vehicles. In addition, questions of liability in the event of accidents and who ultimately benefits from this technology must be clarified.
Buro Happold, in collaboration with Autonomy, has just published its Intelligence Report examining how London and other cities can adopt autonomous vehicles. The report comprehensively addresses the readiness and optimal use of autonomous vehicles and does not just focus on the technological aspect. It imagines a future where shared operation of autonomous vehicles exists and is easily accessible via an intuitive app, with Transport for London (TfL) playing a central role.
TfL’s iconic branding hopes to boost public trust in autonomous vehicles from the start. As the UK works towards the goal of having fully operational autonomous vehicles by 2025, advancing technology and solving various challenges will be crucial to achieving this goal.