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Driving test ‘could become obsolete’ ​​

Advances in autonomous vehicle technology could ultimately lead to the abolition of the driving test as we know it today.

That’s according to automotive data and valuations specialists HPI, whose experts believe that 25 years from now the need for conventional driving test may well have become obsolete.

“Vehicle autonomy will undoubtedly be the greatest driver of change the automotive sector has ever witnessed,” Matt Freeman, a consultant with HPI, said.“We can expect this to impact every facet of the industry from the way vehicles are made to the way they are sold and driven.”

The first wave of self-driving technologies, such as traffic jam management and highway autopilot systems are starting to appear on today’s new cars, and consumer acceptance of autonomous vehicles is expected to grow as motorists become more familiar with the technology.Consequently, in future, the driving test will need to adapt to make sure new drivers are fully prepared for a new type of driving environment.

As part of its 80-year anniversary, HPI asked a panel of industry experts for their predictions over the next 80 years.The panel offered insights across a number of issues, from technology and innovation, vehicle design, fuel, buying and selling vehicles and car crime:

  • Cars will become fully connected and synchronized, resulting in significantly fewer accidents.
  • Virtual co-pilots will control more of our driving, enabling automatic lane changes and parking.
  • The next five years will see motorists increasingly buying personalised cars online with virtual test drives and home delivery, and in ten years’ time will move from car ownership to ‘usership’ with traditional dealers offering leasing and subscription services.
  • Internet will be standard in all vehicles in the next five to ten years, meaning connectivity to mobiles, work and home appliances will be commonplace.
  • Within a decade there’ll be more focus on the interior than the exterior of the car, with touch screens, entertainment, refreshments and comfort all incorporated within the design.
  • The next ten to 20 years will see autonomous cars completely changing travel, with motorists able to work, socialise and even sleep when driving.
  • Within two decades, steering wheels will be a thing of the past.

Matt Freeman added: “Ultimately, the car will become a pod in which people travel to and from their destinations.They will be able to do other things such as work online, have conversations, play games or even sleep while in transit, so the need for road awareness, directions and understanding road signs and signals will be redundant.

“Consumer resistance to driverless cars should not be under-estimated – there are still those who steer clear of satellite navigation, and occasional media stories about drivers ending up off-road due to obsolete mapping show they may have a point!However, for most drivers, driving is a chore, and the banality of modern commuting will push an increasing number of people to explore the technology.”