The country’s leading traffic lawyer has said a raft of new legislation will have to be introduced if driverless cars take to Britain’s roads.
Nick Freeman, aka Mr Loophole, said if an autonomous vehicle was involved in an accident, then passengers, manufacturers and even those who programmed the vehicle could potentially find themselves in the dock.
The celebrity lawyer, whose clients include a string of A-list celebrities, said: “The manufacturers of these so-called autonomous cars claim their inventions will improve road safety, as they will not be exposed to the flaws of man.
“But however sophisticated a car’s sensors are, I don’t believe they will ever be 100 per cent safe. There will have to be a ‘driver’ who can take responsibility and override the computer in any given situation.
“Will the car’s sensors be able to take note of the actions and gesticulations of other drivers and will they be able to respond to emergency situations, such as pedestrians or animals running out in front of them?
“If we ever reach the stage of driverless taxis and buses – and I hope we never will – who will legally be in control of the vehicle whilst in transit?
“Will it be the passengers, the company that owns and operates it, or the person that programmed the onboard computer?
“Or worse still, could the car’s computer be overridden by an external operator?”
He added: “So called smart motorways will play havoc with the car’s on-board computer, as the national speed limit of 70 mph can be reduced at the flick of a switch. And just who will the police hand a ticket to?
“I predict as this technology continues to develop the role of motoring lawyers will become even more interesting and that of the prosecutor will become even more challenging.”