POLL: Should 'drivers' require a licence to use autonomous vehicles?

  • Marc's Avatar
    Community Manager
    There's some interesting news that the rise of autonomous (self-driving) cars will lead to an increase in congestion.

    A government report has suggested that congestion could be twice as bad as current levels when more autonomous cars are on our roads.

    It believes more than half of vehicles will be autonomous by 2047. And that means more cars because it would "increase the mobility of the elderly and those who do not hold a driving licence".

    I was wondering whether it would be an option that people still need a driving licence to use an autonomous vehicle? It would be useful in case they malfunction - but I'm assuming of course that the'll have steering wheels and pedals and whatnot!
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  • 4 Replies

  • Drivingforfun's Avatar
    One question I have…


    Within reason and based on some assumptions, I’m all for allowing a non license holder, disabled person, even drunk person in a driverless car; but should a banned driver be allowed? I can see no technical reason against it but wouldn’t it more or less nullify their punishment? Getting philosophical but I suppose it depends on the reason for punishment…to remove a dangerous driver from the road or to punish the offender? If the former then fine as they are not in control but if the latter then I think the concern is valid.


    As for the congestion issue, would the vehicles be programmed to cooperate with each other in such a way as to reduce congestion? Human drivers often prioritise their own journey when making decisions but a load of robots would cooperate to reduce combined journey time as opposed to reducing their own journey time, e.g. by forfeiting their priority if there is an overall net gain from doing so. I know human drivers already attempt to do this but the computers would be programmed to know what is most logical rather than doing what drivers think is a good idea, or just trying to exercise misplaced courtesy.
  • Marc's Avatar
    Community Manager
    I’m all for allowing a non license holder, disabled person, even drunk person in a driverless car; but should a banned driver be allowed?
    Great point raised here @Drivingforfun and I guess a banned driver should not be allowed. Presumably the ban will apply to all types of cars, as you'd need to be in a 'fit state' no matter. As there's nobody else looking after the driving. Which I guess is why drunks can get on buses, as they've got bus drivers.

    As for the congestion issue, would the vehicles be programmed to cooperate with each other in such a way as to reduce congestion?
    That makes sense.... but how many people would be prepared to wait for the traffic to ease up a bit?
  • Rolebama's Avatar
    I would hate to see the day when there were no controls in a car. The Docklands Light Railway has driverless trains but they have no roundabouts or junctions to negotiate, or foot paths adjacent to the track with children or drunks likely to behave erratically. For me, there would have to be the opportunity for a driver to take control of the vehicle, which means a Licenced driver in the driving seat. There are too many hazards not just on the road, but adjacent to it which I don't think any computer could see.
  • Marc's Avatar
    Community Manager
    Here we go, the world's first full size self-driving bus is going ahead in Edinburgh.
    I'd give it go, I suppose!