Former Top Gear host Jeremy Clarkson has said he was nearly killed by a driverless car when it made two ‘huge mistakes’.
Clarkson issued a warning to Chancellor Philip Hammond today, as the government prepares to give the green light on testing driverless cars on British roads.
The Chancellor is expected to make the announcement in his next Budget.
According to The Sunday Times, Clarkson wrote:
I drove a car the other day which has a claim of autonomous capability and twice in the space of 50 miles on the M4 it made a mistake, a huge mistake, which could have resulted in death.
We have to be very careful legally, so I’m not going to say which one.
However Clarkson also directly addressed Audi, who have announced next year, they’ll put on sale, the most advanced driverless car of its kind.
Clarkson challenged Audi saying:
You drive one of your driverless cars over the Death Road in Bolivia and I’ll buy one.
Sit there with your hands folded and let it drive you up there, then squeeze past a lorry with half the tyre hanging over a 1,000 ft drop while the car drives itself. Fine, I’ll buy into it.
We’ll have to wait a while until we see Clarkson buy an autonomous vehicle, as he says, the incidents have persuaded him the technology is ‘a very long way off’.
Meanwhile, the government are pushing for changes with Chancellor Hammond wanting to see driverless vehicles on UK roads by 2021.
He believes, this’ll give the industry a £28 billion boost and create an amazing 28,000 jobs.
With his Budget due on Wednesday, this announcement is sure to be made soon.
Developing driverless cars is sure to be no easy task and some of the methods used do seem rather unusual.
For example, Grand Theft Auto 5, a game which actively encourages you to throw aside the rules of the road, is being used to test the autonomous vehicles.
The popular game, has in fact, one of the best driving simulators around, with 14 unique weather conditions, 262 different vehicles and thousands of characters, who all act unpredictably.
Of course it’s a good idea to test the cars in a virtual environment first, but really – Grand Theft Auto!!!
Meanwhile, Clarkson and his fellow petrolheads, Richard Hammond and James May, have been busy filming the second season of The Grand Tour.
The hit Amazon show will return to their streaming service Friday December 8.
Emily Murray is a journalist at UNILAD. She graduated from the University of Leeds with a BA in English Literature and History before studying for a Masters in Journalism at the University of Salford. Emily has previously worked for the BBC, ITV and Trinity Mirror. When Emily isn’t writing about topics including mental health and entertainment, you can find her at the cinema which is her second home.