Lights, Camera, Action!

12 July 2017 Blog

Motorpoint blogger Ken Gibson wonders exactly what we all do behind the wheel in the future with the advent of driverless cars

“But sometimes I wonder with the advent of driverless cars and even cars with no steering wheel, and now intelligent traffic lights, just what we as humans will be left contributing to the driving experience”

I see trials are going to start late in 2017 with intelligent traffic lights that will be able to detect when queues are forming and switch automatically to green lights to speed up traffic flow.

The traffic lights will also be able to identify emergency vehicles and help them get through traffic quicker. The trials will take place in a 50 mile square area of Milton Keynes later this year and into 2018, with the prospect of introducing this technology in towns and cities around the rest of the country if the trials are successful. Apparently the technology will rely on 2,500 roadside cameras and use tech adapted from driverless cars.

This is just the latest example of what seems to be a never ending conveyor belt of technology that will change not only the cars we buy but also the way we drive them. And I must admit that intelligent traffic lights - if they work - could be a real bonus.

But sometimes I wonder with the advent of driverless cars and even cars with no steering wheel, and now intelligent traffic lights, just what we as humans will be left contributing to the driving experience.

I always used to think that experience gained from driving over a period of years helped make us better and safer drivers, but how will the next generation experience that if they are merely sitting back in autonomous cars that do all the work.

And talking autonomous cars I visited the Land Rover factory at Solihull recently and was staggered at just how automated they have become. There are now 1,400 robots on the production line playing an increasingly crucial part in building new cars. Some of the robots are capable of doing three jobs at once and apparently unlike humans they never ever make a mistake or breakdown.

They even had autonomous electric trucks gliding silently around the factory floor delivering parts to the line, it was all highly impressive but slightly depressing when you think how many humans they have replaced. But no doubt experts will tell me its all in the name of progress.

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About the author

Ken Gibson was Motoring Editor for The Sun for 23 years during which time he became one of the best known motoring newspaper journalists in the world. Over that period Ken tested thousands of cars from super minis to SUVs and super cars, and drove millions of miles all over the world.

As well as writing a blog covering the motoring issues of the day, he also independently road tests and creates video reviews on a cross section of cars sold by Motorpoint.