Book Online

Sky News speaks to RED CEO about driverless cars

Following the announcement from the UK government that driverless cars will be allowed on the roads next year, Sky News caught up with RED Driving School CEO Ian McIntosh to get his thoughts on what this will mean for learners and road users alike.

Sky camera crew at RED

Here’s what Ian had to say to Sky News presenter Dermot Murnagahn:

DM: Will this put you out of business, are you worried?

IM: No, no we are not worried. I don’t think it’s going to happen so quickly that we’ll have a problem, but whatever happens we will adapt.

DM: They say that in 10 years’ time you might be teaching people how to sit behind the wheel of a car that is being driven by the onboard systems?

IM: Anything’s possible, we [RED Driving School] think technology is great and, if this moves things forward, it will be terrific for all of us. The roads will be a lot safer, but I think people will learn to drive a normal car for some time yet. So I think we will be fine for now.

DM: Well, they would have to take control of the car if the technology fails so why would it be safer? It’s true that the main cause of accidents is driver error.

IM: Yes, that’s right and we are living in a country with extremely safe roads. Let’s be clear about that it is safe in this country, but accidents are caused by people.

Driverless cars probably don’t have accidents. The Google cars have done 700,000 miles and the only accidents they have had was one which was a rear end shunt and one which was an accident where the driver had taken control. So presumably, cars controlled by computers are going to be a lot safer.

DM: Well are they? I know you are a very good driver and you know your way around, but like the rest of us you’ve probably got Sat Nav as well. I’ve had my Sat Nav take me down blind alleys and I’ve reported on pictures of Sat Nav taking people over the end of jettys and things like that. You have to be 100% sure of the technology.

IM: Yes you do, and I overrule my own Sat Nav from time to time that’s true, but this is the current state of technology. I imagine by the time it goes live and we are using these [driverless cars] normally, all of these problems will be ironed out.

I think when new technology comes along we are all nervous about it, but it gets sorted out and progress is made. I think it will be fine by the time we are all using them, but that’s some years away.

DM: The thought occurs doesn’t it that, if and when it does happen, technology will be programmed to obey the law. Could it put all of those speed cameras out of business entirely?

IM: Well indeed, speed cameras in that instance will be a thing of the past and who knows, maybe that’s not a bad thing for all of us!

DM: Exactly, on that note let’s welcome it then. Very good talking to you Ian and thank you for sharing your thoughts.
Sky news van at RED

For more information on the driverless car, read RED’s previous post.