Rid Us Of This Robot Car Menace

30 December 2008

Something’s been troubling me all day – just how awful is the new plan to fit speed control gadgetry to Britain’s cars?

Under the new, voluntary scheme, we could soon all stop worrying about whatever the given speed limit is wherever we are, as our vehicles will know and apply the brakes accordingly.

Heralded as some kind of breakthrough for road safety, it’s actually a complete waste of time and money and avoids looking at the bigger picture. We don’t want to do less driving – we want to do NO driving!

Within ten years, every single road in Britain needs to be converted to a conveyor belt so that we don’t even have to bother with steering or accelerating or even looking out of the windscreen any more – just punch in your destination postcode, sit back and watch your on-board DVD player or indulge in some 3D hologram boxing.

Ten years – that’s the target I’m setting. If it’s not in place by 2019 I’m off to Switzerland. If Lewis Hamilton and Phil Collins are living there, it’s bound to be up and running over there by then.

TOPICS:   Motoring


  • michael
    All well and good, but bank robberies would become terribly difficult.
  • Al
    Controlling vehicle speed using GPS sounds like a brilliant idea to me. No longer will I have to carry out the careful balancing act of going fast eough to keep the sales rep in his Passat happy while as the same time going slow enough so that some Gestapo speed camera cop doesn't get me. Leave it all to a computer ... that'll give me more time to watch out for trouble rather than watching the needle of my speedometer.
  • an o.
    Having a [email protected] will be easier
  • John
    I think both technologically and fundamentally this is a poor idea. From a technological point of view, I can't see how this system will work - as far as I'm aware the accuracy of a GPS receiver is limited by the satelite network which is currently not that accurate. Quite often my sat nav (which I believe is as accurate as can be) will think I'm driving down a parallel street, it does try to avoid this by assuming you are following the route it has told you to but this onboard car system does not have this information. That could mean you're driving along in a higher speed road and the car will slam on the brakes because it thinks you're going through the 20 speed limit in a road beside it. Assuming all the speed limits are precisely defined in the internal map database, how is the system updated to ensure it is aware of any speed limit changes. I can't see how this system can be 100% reliable which means the benefit is significantly reduced if you need to keep checking limits and your speed anyway. It would be annoying to be stuck at 40 because your car incorrectly didn't realise you were in a 60. I find the existing system Tomtom have to be fairly pointless as it doesn't get the speed limit boundaries correct, isn't always aware of speed limit changes nor can it cope with roadworks. I just turned it off because it was annoying when it was warning me to slow down when I was driving at the right speed. Fundamentally I think this is wrong as well, speed on its own is not a killer as it's a combination of factors which this system can't account for. One of the worst times I drove up home was when there was a real mix of conditions from pouring rain, sleet, snow and back to rain again. This made the conditions lethal as you simply didn't know what was under the car, in some areas it was just wet and there was a decent amount of grip but other times the car was going across compacted snow with no grip at all. I was familiar with the road and driving in snowy conditions so I just backed off completely and took it easy being well aware how easy it is to find just how little grip there is normally too late. Many cars kept on at normal speeds just roaring through the conditions and during that drive I saw numerous cars which had hit snow and skidded straight off the road. In this case the speed limit system would have done nothing to slow these drivers down. These may seem like exceptional circumstances however fog seems to be a common problem on the motorway where drivers have poor visibility, even driving at the speed limit is dangerous as people end up crashing into other cars they couldn't see in time to slow down for.
  • Ryan
    This just goes back to when some bright spark wanted to get these into the cars so they can automaticly fine you if you go over the speed limit, and if you look deeper you will find they want these in your car for congestion charging. It has nothing to do with safety (No dought they will let you switch this on of off and offer you less on insurance (Same as truck drivers protest on fuel), they just want them in the cars. Last time a petition was setup on No 10 website and they stoped the counter on the site before it reached over 1million. WE DO NOT WANT! Excuse the spelling :p
  • ad
    i guess you heard this on jeramy vine on radio 2 today , you will note the bitch admitting that speed history is collated and used in statistics regardless of the nature of the accident , so on the run from the cops and hit a little old lady whilst driving on the wrong side of the road ? the speed will be listed as a contributory factor anyone who likes the sound of these and believes the bullshit of hitting a child at 40 kill um dead at 30 they spring to life pile of adulterated manipulation from the brain washing do gooder society then these fuckers should have one fitted first and set at 30% less than the speed limit , lets see um still smile when every journey takes near twice as long , lets have it set to 10 miles an hour in built up areas cus its the children and you got to protect the children cant breathe in this bastard country anymore , for the love of jesus vote labour out before they do any more damage , theres no right to walk the street without fear of unquestionable arrest and all communication can and is checked out and now its the thought police , 1984 ??????
  • Neil
    Hello, I am completely mental and the government is only fitting these due to some conspiracy theory that me and my equally mental mates made up "dahn da pub". We have decided that they want to use them to reduce the size of your testicles whilst building up an insurmountable amount of testosterone so that everyone can be sent to Afghanistan to murder small children and eat Mars bars.
  • The E.
    Yes to Robot cars! Humans are rubbish at driving. Robot cars could travel faster more safely. There would also be far less traffic jams - they wouldn't rubberneck accidents, and we wouldn't get this kind of thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Suugn-p5C1M @ad - I don't think you have anything to fear from "its the thought police." You are obviously doing a good job of preventing any intelligent or independent thought all by yourself. Chill out! "This bastard country" would be a much nicer place if you weren't so angry all the time. No-one gives a damn about your "human right to break the speed limit."
  • Adam
    @ad Any goverment has stupid ideas, to dump Labour and to go back to the Tory's would be no different it would be like swapping cheese for slightly bluer cheese. Whoever is in power is only going to bad by us. To believe this will take off is Nieve, the country wouldn't function without the occasional speeder. The revenue simply generated by these speeding fines is the simple reason why so many speed cameras are made, there a great ghost tax, or whatever you want to call it. If you don't speed through areas with speed cameras you have no reason to worry, and to say i've never sped would be a lie, and If I get caught I have no one to blame but myself. Touch wood.
  • Mr D.
    What nutter gave in this idea!!! I was driving today when a bus stopped to pickup. I slowed down checked, no cars so over took with another car behind me following. What happens next is... yep! a big freeking truck comming from a blind spot. Now imagine I could not go faster than 30mph... BANG!!! We all DEAD! So will it just be another "I am sorry" after people start to die??? There are times you just have to. Unless you want to ban overtaking and spend millions painting solid white lines all over the roads. Robot Indeed!

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