Driverless cars: hype or inevitable?

22 October 2018

Driverless car

Hype over driverless cars is masking the lessons of failed global transport policies, award-winning broadcaster Christian Wolmar will tell a public seminar in Cardiff.

Mr Wolmar, a transport specialist, believes blinding people with reports about the benefits of autonomous vehicles is a ‘dangerous distraction.’

“Not only is it based on a false assessment of technology, it also envisages a dystopian future for transport: the replacement of public services by private individualised transport,’ he said.

The writer, who will deliver his talk as part of Cardiff University’s Transport Futures Research Network, believes models of transport proposed by driverless car companies like US giant Waymo are not viable.

“The danger is that those making transport policy will not accept this and consequently will continue trying to adapt to this unachievable vision,” he said.

Mr Wolmar’s seminar will be hosted by Professor Lorraine Whitmarsh, School of Psychology & Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

“Autonomous vehicles are being heralded as a revolutionary solution to many transport problems, offering safer, more efficient and enjoyable travel experiences, and increasing mobility for disabled and other groups who can’t drive,” said Professor Whitmarsh.

“But the full implications of the move to a self-driving fleet - where your vehicle becomes an extension of the office, home or pub - have barely been examined, and we need a societal debate about whether this is the future we want for the transport system. Christian provides an alternative position on autonomous vehicles to the prevalent techno-optimism that can help stimulate this debate.”

The lecture takes place between noon and 1pm on 8 November at the Sir Martin Evans Building, Museum Ave, Cardiff CF10 3AX.

To book your place for this ticket-only event, please click here.

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