Leader comment: Fear of robots could scupper driverless cars

Driverless vehicles are to be tested in Scotland with a trial that could include delivery vehicles.
Driverless vehicles are to be tested in Scotland with a trial that could include delivery vehicles.
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Like renewable energy, the death of the high street and colonies on Mars, driverless cars seem like the future.

Robot drivers don’t break the law or go too fast round hairpin bends to impress their mates. Artificial intelligence is programmed to drive in the way we all should drive.

Chancellor Philip Hammond has said “genuine” driverless cars will be on Britain’s streets as early as 2021 and, as The Scotsman reports today, trials are set to begin in Scotland after a demonstration summit later this year.

And yet, for all the suggestions that they will be much safer because of the elimination of human error, many people still hesitate.

READ MORE: Driverless cars ‘will be on Scotland’s roads in 2021’

There is something slightly unnerving about being driven about by a machine.

Perhaps we have been brainwashed into distrusting robots by works of fiction like The Terminator film franchise and Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot.

A new technology is always a choice. If enough people overcome their concerns, others will be swept along, but if we collectively decide to remain in control of the wheel, driverless cars may prove to be a vision of the future that gets stuck in the past.

READ MORE: Alastair Dalton: Driverless cars a benefit but not a panacea