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GBC Hails Driverless Car Project “A Huge Success”

Published on: 26 Nov, 2018
Updated on: 27 Nov, 2018

By Anthony Parker

Guildford Borough Council has called a test scheme to develop driverless cars in Guildford a “huge success”.

Project Alloyed, a consortium of public and private organisations led by Guildford design and engineering company Epitomical, have finished a five-month test of their high-tech sensors on Onslow Street.

These sensors would enable connected Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) to operate by “seeing” round corners, “viewing” pedestrians and cyclists and passing this information to other vehicles. The sensors would also monitor vehicle emissions and “tap into the vehicle systems”.

Cllr Gordon Jackson.

“This is the future,” said Gordon Jackson, lead councillor for Innovation and Transformation, adding that a future without human-driven cars was “very likely”. He thought insurance for human-driven vehicles could become much more expensive than that for AVs. Guildford is “looking to provide the infrastructure so we’re ready for these sort of things when they come in”.

But studies by Professor Scott Cohen of the University of Surrey and Dr Debbie Hopkins of Oxford University suggest that AVs could lead to a decidedly dystopian future. The widespread use of self-driving cars could lead to greater urban sprawl and reduce the demand for train travel, coach tours, public transport and driven taxis as well as offering potential opportunities to terrorists.

“The visitor economy will be gradually transformed if AVs become fully automated and mainstream, leading to a future where hordes of small AVs could congest urban attractions, hop-on-hop-off city bus tours may go out of business altogether, motorways between cities could fill at night with slow-moving AVs carrying sleeping occupants and commercial sex in moving AVs becomes a growing phenomenon.”

Cllr Jackson said no one could predict the effects of AVs but the “likelihood was AVs will reduce the number of cars on the roads and dramatically improve road safety”.

Cllr Matt Furniss

Matt Furniss, lead councillor for Governance and Infrastructure, said: “Supporting schemes such as Project Alloyed ensures Guildford remains one of the top spots in various UK economic league tables for its innovation, entrepreneurship, access to investment and number of start-up businesses. Innovation and digital make ‘smart’ towns and cities, which means prosperity now and for future generations”.

Cllr Jackson said the council is hoping to be part of several projects and they were looking forward to the innovation awards in December.

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