GOOD NEWS for people who want to be the first person on their street with a self-driving car: it is possible that no-one will know that you have one, at least during trials in London.
There is a fear that people will see driverless cars as something to poke fun at or, more likely in our opinion, something to avoid. So it is being suggested that self-driving cars should just assimilate with other cars and not make a big deal out of the fact that no-one is in the driver's seat.
Of course, it is hard to avoid noticing when there is no-one driving a car, the obvious clue being that no-one is operating a wheel with any purpose, unless perhaps they are playing Mario Kart on a Wii.
A report in The Observer explained that Volvo wants to put the incommunicado cars on the streets as the firm is worried about the feelings of the vehicles' owners and their acceptance on our glorious, clogged up streets.
Volvo is quite advanced as far as driverless cars go and is even working with Microsoft on them, but it does not have much faith in their acceptance.
"From the outside you won't see that it's a self-driving car. From a purely scientific perspective it would be interesting to have some cars that are marked as self-driving cars and some that are not and see whether other road users react in a different way," said Erik Coelingh, Volvo's senior technical leader for this kind of thing.
"I'm pretty sure that people will challenge them if they are marked by doing really harsh braking in front of a self-driving car or putting themselves in the way."
Volvo's trial will use volunteers in the cars, and it is possible that those lucky people will cruise around London at two miles an hour with their feet sticking out of the driver's side window.
If that happens it is very likely that people will stop and stare and perhaps point. Volvo is not going to be able to do a damn thing about people braking suddenly in front of them, though. µ
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