Blaise Tapp: The future is being driven by microchip

FUTURE: Google's driverless car.
FUTURE: Google's driverless car.
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Those laid back Dutch have gone and done it again but this time they may have gone one better than rubber cheese and funny cigarettes by pioneering the first ever driverless bus.

The daftly named WEpod - which sounds like a toilet aid for the infirm - is the first autonomous vehicle to take to public roads and while I am not one to embrace technology I am genuinely relieved.

I am relieved that within the not-so-distant future the roads will be rid of idiots because we will be driven everywhere by microchip. The Dutch bus which can carry up to six passengers is blazing a trail and is being closely followed by the Google Car, a driverless vehicle which has already covered 1.4 million miles in its test phase, not to mention the giants of the motor industry.

Gone forever will be the morons who are incapable of turning into a side road without cutting across a good foot of the opposite carriageway; gone will be motorists flouting the mobile phone ban after downing four cheeky lunchtime pints and it should mean an end to bugged eyed road rage.

While I quite enjoy driving, it isn’t good for my health or that of the poor devils brave enough to strap themselves in next to me. I have recently been without my mobile phone so have had enough time on my hands to calculate that in 20 years on the road I have covered roughly 400,000 miles and am ashamed to say that many of those miles have been covered while I have been on autopilot.

I know I am not the only one who drives while not fully paying attention but am grateful that I am lucky enough not to have been involved in a serious accident as, although statistics show the number of casualties decreased last year, we take a chance everytime we turn the key in the ignition.

We have all gasped in horror as a cretin with one hand on the wheel and the other on a Cornish pasty as he hurtles towards us at 40 miles per hour in a 30 zone. Driverless cars will cut out the recklessness of human beings which has surely got to be their main selling point? Of course there will be huge resistance to such a revolution for no other reason that there are plenty of people out there who would sell their home if it meant keeping their beloved motor.

I have never fully understood the love that many have for a hunk of shiny metal which was designed to ferry folk from A to B, but it floats the boat of millions. But I am convinced that driverless technology will prevail and during this century that many of us will opt to be driven around by a very clever SatNav.

Of course there will be a hard core who will cling onto the past and cruise around in their vintage Ford Focuses rather like those bearded hipsters who still cherish their vinyl mountains.

There is a long way to go before humans are forced to play second fiddle on our roads but before any petrolheads out there get too depressed about our science fiction future, such contraptions will almost put paid to Jeremy Clarkson and Chris Evans. Every cloud…

041017    Emma  Howard Boyd Chairman of the Environment Agency  (left) and Cllr Judith Blake L, eader of Leeds City Council who jointly  opened  of the first phase of the Leeds Flood Alleviation scheme near to the Royal Armouries,   yesterday(wed).

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