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Self-driving cars likely to be common in a year claims sustainability expert

Peter Kelly
Feb 6, 2020


The longest-ride by distance from an autonomous vehicle was broken as the Nissan Leaf completed a 230-mile journey from Bedfordshire to Sunderland.

The modified 2017 electric Nissan Leaf managed to drive from the Nissan Techincal Centre Europe in Cranfield, Bedforshire, all the way to the company's production plant in Sunderland.

Talking to Kelvin Mackenzie on Love Sport Radio, sustainability expert Ric Boullemier discussed the future of autonomous vehicles on our roads.

"It's a great story. As you mention, the test took part with a modified Nissan which went from Cranfield all the way up to Sunderland- nearly 230 miles.

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"The main thought of this thing [the long journey] is that they're testing this technology. It's amazing this is coming forward.

"It already exists in a lot of cars, including the Tesla that we drove across to Germany in. I do have a Tesla. I have the Model S, an older version - 2014 - which still has the autopilot one capabilities. It can drive autonomously around the roads.

"I use it quite regularly. I don't have to accelerate, I don't have to brake, I don't have to steer. The car does it all for you!"

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On how soon it might be before we see vehicles driving themselves and no longer being a shock to the system Boullemier claimed: "I guess it could happen in the next year or so.

"At the moment if I was driving along the motorway up to my parents' place in Northampton, I often put it in autopilot. It will judge if the car in front of me is braking and it will brake accordingly. I don't have to do anything. Even if you indicate the car will change lanes for you.

"And if I really wanted to, and I haven't done this and I wouldn't do this because it's very stupid, but I could get in the back of the car and have a quick rummage around if I had left something in my backpack at the back of my car.

"All these advances in technology are going to be such a good thing not just for drivers but also for the emergency services because you'll have less crashes on the road."

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The UK has tried to take an active role in helping the development of autonomous cars, with Minister for Future Transport George Freeman overseeing the creation of the: "Autonomous Village, a self-driving vehicle test facility at Millbrook-Culham with 70km of secure test tracks, a private mobile network and a simulator suite.

"The new ground will allow developers to safely challenge systems and collect data, to help fine-tune software, sensors, 5G telecommunications and cyber security systems."

Speaking in September 2019 George Freeman said: "Self-driving vehicles can offer significant rewards for the UK’s economy, road safety and accessibility. We are determined to lead in the testing and development of safe autonomous transport."

Listen to Kelvin Mackenzie on Love Sport Radio for all the current talking points, weekdays 10AM-12PM.

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