Thursday, April 01, 2021

Driverless cars to be fitted with new advanced safety features to protect pedestrians

The government task force preparing for the phased introduction of driverless cars has proposed new legislation which the Transport Secretary will table next week to legalise features for automatically driven vehicles which will maximise pedestrian safety.

This will permit the manufacturers of such vehicles to build in a system  to gently and safely discourage people who might risk their lives and those of other road users by deliberately jumping into the road in close proximity to the projected course of an automatically driven vehicle so that they will be detected by the automatic driver and the vehicle forced to change course.

Studies show that at least four groups of people might decide to behave in this way

  • Opponents of the principle of driverless vehicles
  • Teenage boys with excess testosterone
  • Other naughty children with a dangerous sense of humour
  • Jeremy Clarkson.
The potential activity which Clarkson has christened "herding cars" would rely on another feature of the proposed safety protocols for automatic cars. This will require these vehicles to plan a course which never passes within a certain minimum safety margin of other road users in general and pedestrians in particular. Hence a person placing themselves at the very edge of the carriageway or just inside it could sometimes  force a driverless vehicle to veer away from the kerb.

However this would carry the risk that if the person attempting this action misjudged the course of the vehicle or it's ability to turn in time he or she might be hurt. There is also the possibility that in avoiding the pedestrian the driverless car might turn into the path of an overtaking vehicle or an oncoming one travelling in the opposite direction. It has been suggested that if this were to cause two driverless vehicles to collide the practitioners of  "herding cars" might refer to such a road traffic accident as a "Clarkson Bonus."

In order to discourage this practice, driverless cars are to have 360 rapid rotation capacity and advanced target tracking software fitted to control the windscreen cleaner water jets, plus accelerated pumping capacity roughly equivalent to a "super soaker" device. 

The car's sensors will be programmed to detect rapid movement towards the vehicle by any pedestrian whose body configuration appears compatible with a teenage boy, Clarkson, Hammond or May (the latter two having been added at the Prime Minister's suggestion - that's Phil Hammond or Theresa May.) The car will then direct a water jet towards the oncoming pedestrian to encourage them to remain clear for their own safety.

A Number Ten spokesman said "That'll show the idiots."

He dismissed suggestions that the system might give an unintentional soaking to pedestrians who were merely walking close to the kerb, but refused to deny that the PM had wanted to call the system "Build Back Wetter" but had been over-ruled by Carrie Symonds.


Jim said...

Guessing you didnt get the memo, April fools day is cancelled this year, as there can be no bigger joke than the current government.

Chris Whiteside said...

Not on my twitter feed it wasn't.

Jim said...

My facebook was just happy birthday to the RAF, many joke about that date.