Charlie Henderson, a roads expert at PA Consulting, was interviewed by CNN in its article reporting on the UK government’s announcement that driverless cars could be in full use on Britain's roads by 2021. CNN noted the statement issued by the Department for Transport (DfT) which said that the UK is “on track to meet its commitment to have fully self-driving vehicles on UK roads by 2021.”
The piece notes PA Consulting’s recent report on autonomous vehicles, Autonomous vehicles: What are the roadblocks?
Charlie told CNN that while PA’s research focused on Britain “the issues are relevant to all geographies.”
Charlie comments: “To get autonomous vehicles working on the roads relies on six or seven factors, of which technology is one. Others include legislation, policing and insurance. However, the most important is other road users.
“Road users are not just other vehicles but pedestrians and cyclists who need to learn to understand and be confident in how these vehicles are going to behave. You can design an autonomous vehicle to be super safe and drive along cautiously,” he continues.
According to Charlie, this would lead vehicles to be "very, very slow", potentially causing "gridlock" in urban areas and even accidents.
He continues: "What we need to do is think through a whole bunch of behaviour changes, not just around the vehicles themselves but how people interact with them."
The article notes that PA’s 2018 report concluded that widespread use of driverless cars is at least a decade away, though Charlie says that there is likely to be "limited use of autonomous vehicles in specific environments" by 2023 - such as driverless buses and agricultural vehicles.