Have a gander: can this electric three-wheeler beat congestion in London?

With London now the sixth most gridlocked city in the world, could part of the answer be smaller, three-wheeled, maybe yellow, electric cars?

Any talk of three-wheelers and we immediately think of Del Boy’s Reliant Regal from Only Fools and Horses, or the Sinclair C5, but Electra Meccanica has revisited the concept with its new single-person electric vehicle, the Solo.

After a successful trial production run in Vancouver, manufacturing recently moved to a new, larger factory in Chongqing, China.

Electra Meccanica claims it already has more than 23,000 reservations at its target price of $15,500.

Chief operating officer, Henry Reisner, said: “Having driven the 2019 Solo myself, I’m convinced we have a winning car on our hands. Now we get to the business of delivering them in significant numbers.”

While it’s tempting to make Trotters Independent Traders (TIT) jokes, pollution is a serious matter and you only have to glance around the rush hour jam to see big SUVs with only one person in them.

The Congestion Zone is widely considered unfit for purpose and the London Assembly’s Transport Committee recommends replacing it with road pricing.

Why be part of the problem when, as Electra Meccanica says, you can: “Reduce your gas bill to zero. Eliminate your environmental impact. Turn your commute into the highlight of your day.”?

Ok, that might be overstating things, but with its 17.3 kWh lithium ion battery taking it from 0-60mph in just 8 seconds, this three-wheeler is worth a goosey gander.

Online teach-out gives bite-sized answers to driverless car questions

If you’ve got a couple of hours to digest important driverless car questions, try this online course from the University of Michigan: Self-Driving Cars Teach-Out.

The university’s Ann Arbor campus is home to the 32-acre Mcity test facility, the first purpose-built proving ground for connected and automated vehicles (CAVs).

Carrie Morton, deputy director of Mcity, describes it as “the ultimate sandbox”, a place to foster collaboration with industry, government and academic partners.

Following a quick overview of the key on-board technologies – sensors, lidar, GPS etc – the university’s experts get into the nitty gritty of their specialisms.

Liz Gerber, professor of public policies, sets the scene, saying: “The promise of driverless vehicles is super exciting for communities and for society. We talk about the promise of reduced congestion, increased mobility options and enhanced safety and convenience.”

Professor Matthew Johnson Roberson discusses the fragility of artificial intelligence (AI) in dealing with new systems, the challenge of getting from 95% to 99.99% accuracy, and the importance of failing gracefully in the event of an error.

Professor Dan Crane looks at balancing competition, differentiation and standardisation, asserting that we should encourage “a thousand flowers to bloom”, because no one yet knows which technologies will work best.

Ian Williams, inaugural fellow for the Law & Mobility Program, addresses privacy concerns and the ability to change settings. He also raises the possibility of motorists being encouraged out of driving via the prohibitive cost of insurance.

Big picture thinking comes from Alex Murphy, assistant professor in sociology, who considers the profound impacts of a lack of transportation – from the kinds of jobs people can take to the schools they can access. “It has huge implications for inequality,” she says.

Lionel Robert, associate professor in the School of Information, predicts that we’ll see level five, fully autonomous, go anywhere CAVs “in our lifetime”. He focusses on giving consumers “accurate trust” in the technology, not under- or over-trust.

One reassuring point which crops up time and again is the continuing need for humans – from John the safety conductor on the Mcity Shuttle, to roles variously described as truck operators, fleet attendants, concierges and guides.

This evolution could potentially help to offset the fear that driverless technology will immediately put people out of a job, a belief which has been blamed for attacks on self-driving test cars.

CAV’s potential to help the blind community was also particularly thought-provoking.

The challenge of London: can driverless cars unblock the world’s sixth most gridlocked city?

Today’s two new statements from the London Assembly – one on the cost of congestion and the other on changes to the licensing guidelines for taxis and minicabs – have highlighted major transport problems in the capital… issues which connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) could potentially help to solve.

Caroline Pidgeon MBE AM, chair of the London Assembly Transport Committee, said: “The revelation that London is the sixth most gridlocked city in the world, behind Moscow, Istanbul, Bogota and Mexico City, will come as no surprise to most road users.
“This is a shockingly expensive fact and hugely damaging to our global reputation. Getting millions of Londoners to and from work every day is a massive challenge – but we really have to try harder for the sake of our economy and our environment.
“The need to improve London’s public transport capacity is desperate – hence the urgent necessity for Crossrail and for more people to walk and cycle whenever possible.” 

Notably, the Transport Committee’s 65-page 2017 report London Stalling described the current Congestion Charge as “no longer fit for purpose” and recommended that “the Mayor should make plans now to introduce road pricing.”

Transport data firm Inrix has since calculated that the average road user in London lost up to £1,680 last year due to traffic jams.

There’s little doubt that smart highways and connected cars could help to ease congestion, or that electric vehicles would cut the damage from tailpipe emissions.

Admittedly, Adam Millard-Ball’s concern that self-driving cars could exacerbate the problem by cruising to get around paying for parking (as outlined in A dystopian vision of polluted London) would need to be tackled.

As to the government’s proposed new licensing guidelines for taxis and minicabs – which would require cabbies to pass enhanced criminal record checks – Pidgeon said: “Anything that improves the safety of passengers has to be a good thing.
“We need to prevent the likes of John Worboys from being able to operate as a legitimate licensed driver again and stop the worrying numbers of sexual assaults in minicabs.
“The big miss in the government response to the Department for Transport (DfT) Review is the statutory definition of plying for hire not being resolved. This has long been a major bone of contention and it appears to be too hard to resolve, so they aren’t going to try.”

Under existing regulations, private hire vehicles (PHVs) may only pick up passengers when pre-booked, rather than from a rank or being hailed.

However, the RMT, the union for transport workers, asserts that: “ smartphone apps such as Uber are circumventing the law governing the taxi and minicab industry”.

If the authorities haven’t even got their heads around smartphones yet, they’ve certainly got a lot of thinking to do when it comes to driverless cars, not least the thorny issue of who to save in no-win crash situations.

Must-see video: VR world enables billions of driverless test miles

Having made its name in gaming graphics, it should come as no surprise that Nvidia has created an autonomous vehicle (AV) simulator – a computer platform which enables developers to design a near-infinite variety of conditions and scenarios for driverless cars.

The US tech giant (which already has links with manufacturers including Audi, Mercedes, Tesla, Toyota, Volvo and VW) says its new Drive Constellation will help the global automotive industry to drive billions of test miles safely in virtual reality.

In another notable move, Nvidia recently announced a joint initiative with the government of Luxembourg to create a national artificial intelligence (AI) laboratory.

“Luxembourg is nurturing a pan-European innovation ecosystem,” said Prime Minister Xavier Bettel. “This cooperation is big news for our local innovators, and our country is proud to be the first European country to create an AI partnership with Nvidia.”

Driverless river transport: the roboat

We profiled various “other driverless vehicles” in our recent bikes, trucks, bots and planes article, well here’s another one… and it has a great name: the roboat.

So far, only small prototypes have been deployed but a bigger model with a 6x13ft hull is in development, featuring GPS, water quality testers, cameras and LIDAR.

The robotic boat is the result of a five-year research project – a collaboration between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS).

Carlo Ratti, of MIT’s senseable city lab, envisages a new kind of on-demand infrastructure – autonomous platforms joining together to form floating bridges or stages, as well as individual roboats being able to deliver goods, transport people or collect waste.
This 1min 43sec video gives an overview of the project to date:

Looking ahead, the team will concentrate on finding ways to account for waves, currents, more passengers and heavier cargos.

From high tech to highly debatable: self-driving at CES 2019

Here’s our round-up of some of the more interesting and lesser reported self-driving stories from this month’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas:

First, there was the hoo-ha over a Promobot being run over by a Tesla Model S. While the Washington Post described the incident as “a bit of embarrassment for Tesla”, Electrek suggested it was a PR stunt – they published a video of it here so you can make up your own minds.

Another one at the quirky end of the spectrum was the photographer claiming damage to his Sony camera after taking a shot of a lidar system. The BBC carried the story under the headline “Driverless car laser ruined camera”.

In more positive news, Aptiv offered enjoyable trips along the strip in its autonomous BMWs. The Inquirer’s journalist described the experience as “delightfully boring”.

Two of the most futuristic vehicles on show were Bosch’s IoT Shuttle and Rinspeed’s MicroSNAP (pictured above). The latter features a “skateboard” chassis and “pod” bodies that can be swapped at an automated robot station.

In terms of notable new partnerships, Ordnance Survey announced that its datasets will be combined with Mobileye’s car-mounted camera-based mapping to identify the locations of things like lampposts and manhole covers.

Elsewhere, German supplier ZF announced close collaboration with chip supplier NVIDIA, while GPS provider TomTom announced a link-up with Japanese components manufacturer, Denso.

Perhaps the most important news concerned the announcement of PAVE – Partners for Automated Vehicle Education – a group of interested parties including vehicle manufacturers (Daimler, GM, Toyota and VW), tech companies (Waymo, Intel and NVIDIA) and other big hitters like SAE International, the National Federation of the Blind and the National Council on Aging.

Their mission is to “inform the public about automated vehicles and their potential so everyone can fully participate in shaping the future of transportation.”

That all sounds great but it surely raises the possibility of confusion with the UK’s PAVE – People in Autonomous Vehicles in Urban Environments – a consortium including Race, Siemens, Amey, Oxbotica and Westbourne which is in receipt of government funding via the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV).

New driverless car UK road trials

Since 2014, the UK government has invested over £120 million supporting over 70 connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) projects, with a further £68 million coming from industry contributions.

The most recent road trials to be announced include self-driving vehicles running on single-track roads in the Highlands and islands of Scotland.

Other new initiatives include an autonomous bus service from Fife to Edinburgh (across the Forth Bridge) and a self-driving taxi trial in London.

The ServCity pilot, led by Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), has won £11.15m from Innovate UK towards its £19.8m project to develop a bookable autonomous taxi service in the capital.

The consortium also includes the University of Nottingham and Professor Gary Burnett, Chair of Transport Human Factors, said: “ServCity is an ideal opportunity for us to conduct world-leading research to understand the complex factors that will contribute to the public’s acceptance of connected and automated vehicles.”

Elsewhere, the government has recently backed four other projects which form part of the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CCAV) and Meridian’s £100m infrastructure programme:

1) The Connected Vehicle Data Exchange (ConVEx), led by Bosch, to help position the UK as a leader in CAV research and development.

2) Highway Intersections, which will see 6km of track added to Bruntingthorpe Proving Ground in Leicestershire to mimic a variety of road junctions.

3) Rural and Highway, a project adding 265km of roads to UK public, controlled and virtual testing facilities via the Midlands Future Mobility consortium.

4) Self-parking Cars, a consortium including Japanese-owned HORIBA MIRA and Coventry University to create realistic parking scenarios on Warwickshire’s MIRA technology park.

On a visit to driverless vehicle software company Oxbotica, Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, said: “The UK is building on its automotive heritage and strengths to develop the new vehicles and technologies and from 2021 the public will get to experience the future for themselves.”

For further details on CCAV projects, see the 80-page report UK Connected & Autonomous Vehicle Research & Development Projects 2018.

Park and charge: Hyundai video on EV automated parking

Hyundai has created an eye-catching video to show off its futuristic electric vehicle (EV) wireless charging system.

The film shows a connected and autonomous vehicle (CAV) driving itself to a charging bay, being powered up via magnetic induction, and then parking itself in an ordinary bay nearby.

The owner then summons the car using an automated valet parking app on her smartphone.

Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director, has asserted that such systems will enable cities to radically redefine their use of space, with far less land potentially needed for parking spaces .

“Valet parking systems will enable autonomous vehicles to drop passengers at convenient points, after which the vehicle will leave by itself to undertake a further journey, or park out-of-town,” he said.

Autonomous now: the shift to self-driving

This article, a version of which first appeared in the July 2018 issue of IMI Magazine, was the spark for Cars of the Future. IMI editor, Tim Kiek, said: “I’ve featured articles on autonomous vehicles throughout my tenure but never one which explores the topic with such forensic rigour.”

Autonomous Now… Neil Kennett explores blockbuster themes in the shift to self-driving

In our May issue, Traka’s Paul Smith outlined the six levels of autonomy, detailed how Audi’s A8 and Tesla’s Model S are already around Level 3, and noted that driverless motoring could be a reality on UK motorways by 2021.

Let that sink in for a moment. 30 years ago, this was the stuff of science fiction. Gen X children across the world dreamt of owning KITT from Knight Rider – a talking, self-driving, bulletproof Trans-Am. For many, that dream will nearly come true.

While the leaders in this new wave of cars are ready to roll, a few thorny hurdles stand in their way: the elimination of digital ‘not-spots’; devising a new liability framework; meeting the challenges of a mixed (autonomous and non-autonomous) car parc; and addressing legitimate cybersecurity and ethical concerns.

Then there’s the skills shortage in intelligent mobility; data governance issues; what all this means for those who actively enjoy driving; and the impact on other road users.

Before investigating out how we might get from A to B in just three years, let’s get the acronym sorted. For the purposes of this article, we’ll call them connected and autonomous vehicles, CAVs.

Now for a definition: According to The Institution of Mechanical Engineers, when the term autonomy is applied to a car, it refers to decisions taken by embedded intelligence in the vehicle systems.

This is rules-based software. For example, if the forward-facing camera image contains a pixel pattern associated with a car, and the radar confirms this, and a collision is predicted, then a solution will be deployed, such as emergency braking.

Relentless progress

If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses,” Henry Ford is often quoted as saying. Vehicle manufacturers (VMs) have been pushing the envelope ever since.

A cautionary tale comes from Dan McComas, former senior vice-president for product at Reddit, who witnessed “…a complete breakdown in the kind of thought process behind how your technology is going to affect the users that use it and the world at large.”

VMs and tech giants cite many attractive benefits in shifting to self-driving: increased mobility, improved road safety and reduced congestion.

However, the excellent 2017 House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee report, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles: The Future?, pointed out: “While we cannot say with any certainty what the impact on congestion will be, it is possible to imagine a situation of total gridlock… while some of our evidence has suggested that CAV could have huge economic benefits, we are not convinced that the statistics provided have been properly substantiated.”

That’s a lot of uncertainty, but the committee also heard compelling evidence in support of CAVs, not least the Association of British Insurers submitting that human error is a causal factor in 90-95% of road traffic accidents.

That stat originates from the US and some claim the UK figure is lower. Here, there were 27 road deaths per million inhabitants in 2017, a 5% year-on-year improvement. Within the EU, only Sweden had a better record. The point stands: humans are fallible.

The BBC’s Tomorrow’s World boldly stated: “Over a million people are killed worldwide each year by cars, with 90% of accidents caused by human error. Several million miles of test drives have shown driverless cars to be safer.”

One firm advocate is Antonio Avenoso, executive director of The European Transport Safety Council. “We are calling for safer vehicle standards such as mandatory fitment of automated emergency braking and intelligent speed assistance; better infrastructure safety rules and a solid framework for the safe rollout of automated driving,” he said.

Bob Lutz, former vice chair of General Motors, is more caustic. “Human drivers are distracted. They drink. They text. They take drugs. Autonomous vehicles do none of that,” he said.

Further to the safety argument, there’s cold hard cash. Morgan Stanley has estimated that autonomous cars could save the US $1.3 trillion annually through lower fuel consumption ($169bn), reduced crash costs ($488bn) and productivity increases ($645bn).

In the UK, a 2015 joint report by KPMG and the SMMT, Connected and Autonomous Vehicles – The UK Economic Opportunity, estimated socio-economic benefits “in the region of £51 billion per year by 2030”, if we consolidate a leadership position. Most of this weighty sum is predicted to come from increased ease of travel, fewer accidents and improved productivity.

Other key findings were that CAVs could create an additional 320,000 jobs in the UK by 2030, 25,000 of which would be in automotive manufacturing, and that CAVs could save over 2,500 lives and prevent more than 25,000 serious accidents in the UK by 2030.

“Already more than half of new cars sold are available with at least one semi-autonomous driving feature,” said SMMT chief executive, Mike Hawes.

It should certainly be a good time to be in the sensor business. ABI Research forecasts that as many as 36 million LiDAR units will ship in 2025, with a market value of $7.2bn.

 A recent study by The University of Greenwich found that 43% of 925 respondents “felt positive” towards the concept of CAVs. 46% were undecided, with road safety (51%) and cybersecurity (44%) their primary concerns.

Cyber threats

These concerns are not without foundation. In a series of experiments from 2013 onwards, Charlie Miller and Chris Valasek showed that a hacker with wired or over-the-internet access to certain vehicles could disable or apply the brakes, turn the steering wheel and cause acceleration.

“No matter what we did in the past, the human had a chance to control the car,” said Miller. “But if you’re sitting in the back seat, that’s a whole different story. You’re totally at the mercy of the vehicle.”

While a malicious attack could have horrific consequences, Craig Smith, a security researcher who runs Car Hacking Village at Defcon, the world’s largest hacking convention, believes CAVs are generally more secure.

“They have to use lots of different sensors,” he explained. “The interesting thing is that each sensor doesn’t trust the other. It’s closer to the way humans figure out whether something is an illusion or not. And that’s harder for a hacker to deal with.”

What if a CAV owner wanted a trusted third party to gain access, an independent workshop, for example? The aftermarket received a boost from The European Parliament in March, when 633 MEPs requested that the European Commission publish a legislative initiative to guarantee fair, unrestricted and in real-time access to in-vehicle data before the end of the year.

Level 3 tipping point

The halfway stage of automation, dubbed Level 3 or Conditional Assistance, is pivotal. These vehicles can monitor their surroundings, change lanes, and control steering and braking, but the driver must be ready to take back control if required.

To illustrate the current state of play – how these are no longer theoretical conundrums but real world problems – news broke in April of a very modern dangerous driving incident.

A driver who put his Tesla into autopilot and moved into the passenger seat while at 40mph on the M1 was disqualified for 18 months after footage was posted online. Bhavesh Patel admitted that what he had done was “silly”, but insisted his car was “amazing”.

PC Kirk Caldicutt, of Hertfordshire Police, said: “What Patel did was grossly irresponsible and could have easily ended in tragedy. He not only endangered his own life but the lives of other innocent people using the motorway. This case should serve as an example to all drivers who have access to autopilot controls. I want to stress that they are in no way a substitute for a competent motorist in the driving seat who can react appropriately to the road ahead.”

Professor Neville Stanton, of the University of Southampton, has highlighted that, in simulated emergencies, up to a third of drivers of automated vehicles did not recover the situation, whereas almost all drivers of manual vehicles were able to do so.

Further still, CAV drivers took, on average, six times longer than manual drivers to respond to the emergency braking of other vehicles. “This is particularly true if they are engaging in other activities, such as reading, answering emails, watching movies or surfing the internet,” he said.

Steve Gooding, Director of the RAC Foundation, expressed concern that a Level 3 vehicle could hand back control to a driver who “might well be asleep at the time”. He suggested the risk could be managed by skipping this level and requiring CAVs to be capable of coping with any eventuality.

Who to save?

 Unfortunately, in many crash situations, there is no win-win; it’s a case of the least worst option. Which brings us to ethics, and a thought experiment called The Trolley Problem.

The scenario is this: There is a runaway trolley and, ahead, five people are tied to the track. You are standing some distance off, next to a lever. If you pull it, the trolley will switch to a track only one person is tied to. What do you do?

Referring to our definition, CAVs work on rules, which must be coded. In surveys published in the journal, Science, researchers in the US and France set out to canvas opinion on how driverless cars should behave in no-win situations.

76% agreed that a driverless car should sacrifice its passenger rather than kill 10 pedestrians. The pinch came when they were asked if they would rather purchase a car programmed to protect them instead of pedestrians.

The waters get murkier still. If regulations forced manufacturers to install moral algorithms that minimised deaths, the majority of respondents said they’d buy unregulated cars instead, potentially undermining the much-vaunted safety benefits.

One of the report’s authors, Azim Shariff, of the University of Oregon, commented: “Would you really want to be among the minority shouldering the duties of safety, when everyone else is free-riding, so to speak, on your equitability?”

Alan Winfield, of the Bristol Robotics Laboratory, added: “Without transparency you cannot regulate, and without regulation, driverless cars are unlikely to be trusted. There’s a strong case for a driverless car equivalent to the Civil Aviation Authority.”

Public perceptions

What’s needed, of course, is more testing, but a fatal crash involving an Uber test vehicle in March did little to advance that cause.

In a recent survey of consumer attitudes, the American Automobile Association found that 73% would be too afraid to ride in a self-driving car, up from 63% in the previous survey. The biggest slip in confidence was among millennials.

In Arizona, where the crash happened, the previously supportive Governor, Doug Ducey, suspended Uber’s testing. In Minnesota, Senator Jim Abeler set about drafting legislation to ban automated driving systems until the companies behind them can prove they’re safe.

Harald Proff, of Deloitte, commented: “The US is in no way reckless when it comes to autonomous driving tests, but in Europe, and especially in Germany, rules are a notch stricter when it comes to putting cars on public streets.”

Indeed. A flagship project in Berlin involves four autonomous buses ferrying doctors and staff across the private grounds of the city’s Charite hospital, along pre-defined routes, away from public streets, at a maximum 12mph.

Here, roads minister Jesse Norman announced a three-year review of driving laws – an “extensive regulatory reform programme” intended to ensure “the right laws are in place before the widespread use of these vehicles on UK roads”. In the meantime, public tests continue.

 On UK roads

 Early UK road trials include: The GATEway Project in London; Venturer in Bristol; and UK Autodrive in Milton Keynes and Coventry.

GATEway is entering its final phase, which will see a fleet of driverless pods providing a shuttle service around a 3.4km route on the Greenwich Peninsula. In a world first, members of the public are invited to take part in the research, by riding in or engaging with the pods and sharing their opinions.

Developed by British companies Westfield Sportscars and Heathrow Enterprises, and powered by Fusion Processing technology, the pods have no steering wheels or typical driver controls.

Venturer has so far published the results of two trials involving a Wildcat road vehicle. The first – to understand handover of control between vehicle and driver – concluded that the functionality should “proceed with caution”.

The second – to consider how CAVs interact with other road users and junctions – suggested that making them drive more cautiously than the average human driver could create a traffic calming effect, resulting in safety and congestion benefits.

UK Autodrive, with partner Jaguar Land Rover, has sought to address the fact that, in times of heavy congestion, up to 30% of traffic consists of vehicles looking for parking spaces.

“In the future, connected features will alert drivers to empty spaces and autonomous vehicles will be able to drive straight to them,” said Tim Armitage, Arup’s UK Autodrive project director.

“Valet parking systems will enable autonomous vehicles to drop passengers at convenient points, after which the vehicle will leave by itself to undertake a further journey, or park out-of-town. As well as making parking less of a hassle, these new ways of parking and drop-off will allow cities to radically redefine their use of space, with far less land potentially needed for parking spaces.”

In February, Highways England announced the HumanDrive Project to undertake “the most complex journey across the UK, without driver input”, taking in country roads, high speed roundabouts, A-roads and motorways.

Business and Energy Secretary, Greg Clark, commented: “Low carbon and self-driving vehicles are the future and they are going to drive forward a global revolution in mobility. This revolution has the potential to be worth £52bn to our economy by 2035, and the opportunity to be at the forefront of this change is one we cannot afford to miss.”

In April, the Driven consortium, which is in receipt of an £8.6m government grant, unveiled its plan to run a fleet of Level 4 vehicles in urban areas and on motorways.

Level 4 CAVs might occasionally ask for a manual input, but will continue self-driving if they don’t get one. The project will culminate in journeys between London and Oxford in 2019.

Give us a date

 So, if Level 4 testing goes to plan next year, when can we expect Level 5, full automation? Bloomberg New Energy Finance asked 300 automotive, energy and technology executives to name the year when US consumers will be able to buy a Level 5. Nearly 75% predicted the milestone won’t be reached before 2030. Suddenly, that sounds quite conservative.

Carrie Morton, deputy director of Mcity, the University of Michigan’s purpose-built test facility for CAVs, was more precise. “You’re going to see in the next couple of years isolated pilots of shared, automated Level 4 vehicles,” she said.

“And the distinction between Level 4 and Level 5 is that Level 4 have to operate in a very specific operating domain – it can only go certain places. You’re going to see that really soon. All the while the personally-owned vehicles you and I drive are going to have increasing levels of automation.”

As IMI CEO, Steve Nash, noted in the April issue of this magazine: “It requires around 2.5 terabytes of data to enable an A380 Airbus to fly autonomously across the Atlantic, whereas 45 terabytes of data are required to equip a Level 4 autonomous car to handle routine driving tasks.”

Is this an achievement comparable with putting a man on the moon? No. Is it as ground-breaking as the invention of the motor car itself? Probably not. It is simply progress. In the next decade, humans could set foot on Mars. Here on earth, cars will no longer need drivers.