Computers on wheels: who’s going to keep track of driverless vehicles? – The Guardian live chat

 In Articles, Library, News

The Guardian live chat on September 7, 2017

The panel

  • Birgitte Andersen, CEO, The Big Innovation Centre
  • Chris Jackson, head of transport, Burges Salmon
  • Justyna Zander, technology director, NVidia Corporation
  • David Williams, technical director, AxA
  • Ben Peters, co-founder, FiveAI
  • Melanie Smallman, deputy director Responsible Research and Innovation hub, UCL
  • Nathan Marsh, UK & Northern Europe director, Intelligent Mobility, Atkins
  • William Sachiti, founder, Academy of Robotics

What we’ll be discussing

Should we deregulate in the UK to remain competitive?

A great question from the floor:

Would the panel agree that in order for the UK to remain competitive in the CAV space, and encourage inward investment, the government must be prepared to push the boundaries of real-world testing and regulate/de-regulate accordingly?

Our panel is broadly in favour:

There is clearly a race to be first in the driverless car market – huge ‘engine’ for growth for a nation or company to dominate the market.
I agree on inward investment and pushing boundaries. We must not forget that for CAV to work the huge private investment of companies and those buying the cars have to be matched with a huge public infrastructure investment. It is not just about perfect technology, or ethics rules regarding controls and automated decisions or data governance.

Infrastructure investment is about investement sensors to work in conjunction with an integrated transport network. It is also about investment in a charging and powering infrastructure to the cars. And much more.

Clarity on how operators and technology vendors can achieve regulatory approval to put these technologies in to action on Britain’s roads will be what has and will continue to encourage inward investment. But our focus shouldn’t be entirely on real world testing. It’s important, but virtual validation methods are equally important. In simulated worlds we can drive many more miles, and we can make each and every one interesting and critical in some way to exploring potential failure modes of these systems. It’s also something that the UK should be good at, given our pedigree in the adjacent technology space of computer gaming

I think the Government is pushing boundaries to a degree and is ahead of most other countries with regard to regulation. It needs to be balanced however, Human Safety is paramount, and an early accident due to an over zealous approach could derail the whole programme.

A question of ethics

I am internally challenged by wanting to know that data is being used to protect me, to inform me and to improve my journey experience, versus not wanting to be controlled, policed and manipulated into a behaviour – what are the panel’s thoughts on my dilemma?

Keeping our data safe

What should the priorities be?

Thanks to all our panel and everyone who sent in questions

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