People Will Be Able To Watch TV In Self-Driving Cars

Proposed changes to the Highway Code will allow motorists to watch TV in vehicles with self-driving technology…

Watching TV in Self-Driving Cars

Self-driving cars promise to revolutionise road safety and the driving experience itself. Proposed changes to the Highway Code, if applied, would also allow motorists to sit back and watch TV as their vehicle proceeded to travel towards a stated destination. However, the changes would still make it clear that drivers will need to be ready to assume control when necessary. Moreover, using a mobile phone will remain illegal. The proposed changes are expected to come into force sometime over the summer.

As of now, no self-driving vehicles are allowed on the UK’s road network. But this could change soon, with the first vehicles being prepared to launch later this year. The Department for Transport has stated that the changes to the Highway Code will act as an interim measure; paving the way for a more substantial regulatory framework due to launch in 2025. Crucially, these changes will also make it clear that drivers will not be responsible for self-driving vehicles that crash; responsibility will lie with insurance companies instead.

A Long Road Ahead 

The Government has been very keen to champion self-driving technology; and has continually spoken about the prospect of turning the UK into a global leader as far as the vehicles are concerned. However, the technology remains far behind industry expectations. Tesla, for instance, has continually promised a genuine ‘fully driverless’ mode for years – and has failed to deliver. Ford has also scaled back its expectations. Tech giants, including Uber and Google, have also faced serious roadblocks with the technology.

In which case, some might argue that the government is overestimating the applicability, and viability, of self-driving vehicles. It’s also curious that watching a TV is deemed safe, when the world’s first fatality caused by a self-driving vehicle was caused by the human operator watching a TV show rather than focusing on the road ahead.

Steve Gooding, director of motoring research charity the RAC Foundation, has said that driverless car “promise a future where death and injury on our roads are cut significantly”. Nevertheless, he’s stated that a “long period of transition” will have to take place before their full benefits become apparent.

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