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ISSUE 329Whether we like it or not, driverless cars are the future. It’s very likely that in the next few decades, new cars will be sold with technology that completely removes the need for any input from the driver, be it around town or on the motorway. In a recently published study, IAM RoadSmart (formerly the Institute of Advanced Motorists) found that this is something that the general public isn’t quite ready to accept. Its independent survey of 1000 motorists – combined with the results of a poll of some of its 92,000 members – found that 65 per cent of motorists believe that a human being should always be in control of a vehicle. 34 per cent thought that driverless cars were a bad idea, while 52 per cent thought that driverless cars would never be the norm on UK roads. It’s a set of figures that suggests the general UK motoring public is rather wary of a technological advancement as dramatic as automated vehicular transport on the road. Given IAM RoadSmart’s position as a champion of driver training and its positive effects on road safety, chief executive Sarah Sillars OBE was quick to put the findings into a context:
“Intelligent cars will deliver a step change in road safety by targeting the human errors we make from time-to-time,” she said. “At IAM RoadSmart we believe a well-trained driver and an ever-vigilant car is a win-win scenario for the future.” Despite the overarching feeling of wariness that surrounds driverless cars, IAM Roadsmart appears to remain pragmatic in the face of what could spell a severe dip in the need for its driver training services. I’d wager that Sarah Sillars’ suggestion is bang on the money – those future motorists “might be restricted to driving on designated roads – and possibly just for pleasure rather than for work or getting from A to B”. While it’d be nice to think that future motorists will be able to remain in control of their technologically advanced car at all times, I believe that the sheer potential of completely driverless main routes and cities will one day overrule  our desire to get behind the wheel. In theory, traffic jams, fatal accidents and human risk-taking will all be removed from the equation if a well-programmed computer is in control. I stand to be corrected, however. Whatever happens, I’ll be happy if the very best B-roads remain free to use for those of who simply love driving our classics. What are you thoughts on the matter? As custodian of our letters pages, I’m always interested to hear your opinions. Please don’t hesitate to send us an email or put pen to paper.
In the meantime, enjoy the issue.

James Howe
Editorial assistant