Driverless Vehicles Must Have Own Highways, Says Hella

Autonomous cars must be kept away from ‘normal’ traffic, a leading auto supplier has insisted.

According to Hella Gutmann’s Neil Hilton, driverless vehicles should have had their own lanes or highways, in order to ensure safety and between Seattle and Vancouver, with only autonomous cars allowed by 2040. “Maybe with the new generation of smart motorways, etc, there could be a separate lane or even a separate highway exclusively for autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles, with no other vehicles using it. A separate lane that was just for autonomous vehicles that would get better traffic flow, lower emissions and maximum capacity because the system’s controlling the cars being closer together,” said Hilton, head of business development at Hella.

Hilton told us that while current semi-autonomous vehicles are safer than human-driven vehicles, mixing the two in close proximity is not the best idea. “In the interim period, before we get to the vast majority of vehicles fitted with ADAS, it’s difficult to have a mix of systems on the road and get the maximum benefit.”

It’s an idea that has been floated in the UK and the US; the UK’s Chartered Institution of Highways & Transportation (CIHT) has suggested, in a report released last year, that it’s difficult to design roads for both human and autonomous vehicles, with this making congestion worse, not better, and may render humans worse drivers than they are today. Over the pond, venture capital firm Madrona Venture Group has proposed an ‘autonomous vehicle corridor’, which would replace the highway between Seattle and Vancouver, with only autonomous cars allowed by 2040.

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