BLIND people could soon be able to travel independently in their own car, according to scientists.
By JON AUSTIN
The new vehicles could revolutionise the lives of the disabled.
The computer and motoring industries are ready to launch a wave of AI driverless vehicles on the roads, meaning blind and other disabled people could own and use their own vehicle to take them anywhere with no assistance from another human. The news emerged during a debate of industry experts about the future of driving and the move to so-called driverless vehicles, which are pre-programmed to drive the vehicle for the owner and any other passengers. Dr John Baruch, of the Artificial Intelligence Research Group at Bradford University, said the computer-controlled vehicles would revolutionise car safety and open up driving to everyone within a decade. He said: “Someone texted me saying they were blind and they wanted this because they will finally be able to travel somewhere on their own.
“It would be the same for people with brain injuries and other disabilities that currently stop them driving. “You would just get in and say I want to go home and it would deposit you there.”
Adriverless car Mercedes style
He said in the UK six people die a day in car accidents, with more than half of these children, and autonomous cars, which were pre-programmed could prevent the bulk of these deaths and also ease congestion.
He added: “they can go through taffic lights, distinguish between a rock and bag in the road and deal with fog etc. The technology has been there for ten years.” A debate on driverless vehicles at the university heard that soon after the introduction of driverless cars, all forms of transport are likely to become fully automated. Liz Green, BBC Leeds breakfast show presenter, who chaired the debate, said: “The experts say trains, trucks, cars and even aircraft will be controlled by autonomous robots and It will transform the way we live our lives.” The industry aims to make automated vehicles which can use the existing road network with conventional cars.
Google has developed a number of driverless vehicles for testing Someone texted me saying they were blind and they wanted this because they will finally be able to travel somewhere on their own
Dr John Baruch, of the Artificial Intelligence Research Group at Bradford University Lawyer Ian Miller, who is researching the legal implications of driverless cars, said road accident insurance claims could become a thing of the past in a driverless world. He said: “If what they are saying is correct my colleagues in road traffic accident litigation will all be redundant in 20 years time. “A machine acts in a far more efficient way than humans, so that means far less accidents. “But who would be liable between the pod and the human inside it?” That is the question he is investigating. He said: “A car does not have a legal personality. My view is either the software manufacturer running the vehicle or the manufacturer of the vehicle will have to take on the responsibility.” But he also raised the ethics behind it. He said: “Will young men lose the right to drive?
This is a much smaller pod driverless car version by Google
“Can I move around incognito? What about data collection and protection – the human aspect?
“Will the pod know where ever I have been?”
Concerns raised by the audience included whether there was a risk of hackers getting into to the control system and forcing crashes.
One man said: “My worry is the loss of personal0 freedom. If I go to another town can I still park on double yellow lines and have individual choice or would the car be in control?”
But the debate heard the need for yellow lines may also be phased out as the cars would be “programmed to obey all traffic laws”