Watching TV and other content in self-driving AI cars is likely to become legal soon in the UK. This is one of the changes the UK government is considering in draft legislation for such vehicles.
Department of Transportation (via register) has confirmed plans to make changes to the Road Code, which include rules and guidelines for the use of roads in the UK. The changes are designed to allow users of self-driving cars to experience the full benefits of the technology, while still making it clear what the actual responsibilities of the people in these cars are. It will become clearer as these types of autonomous details are likely to become more common on the road.
One of the clarifications is about what people can actually do while riding in self-driving cars, when screens are on, phones and possibly video games are not. Although some of these cars are powered by high-end gaming devices like PCs.
“The plan also includes changes to existing regulations to allow drivers to view non-driving-related content on the built-in display while the autonomous vehicle is under control. However, the use of mobile devices is still illegal, research shows that mobile phones are in autonomous driving modes, as they are more risky in terms of distracting the driver,” explains a section on the Department of Transportation’s website.
Even watching TV while driving is a very dangerous thing to do, given the current state of autonomous vehicles. However, the UK seems to be drawing the line on interactive media, not allowing things like cellphones, and certainly being more tolerant at times. It definitely takes more effort to get out of the game, put down the device, switch back to the car mentality, and apply the emergency brakes than it is to leave a TV show or something like that. As long as nothing super juicy happens, of course.
Those are all things the Department of Transportation is considering, and that’s still good. These vehicles may be gradually introduced into road-worthy populations and only allowed to travel at lower speeds and other safety restrictions for a certain period of time. Implementing clear rules before self-driving cars hit the road is a smart idea, even if they may need to change in the future. The next step is to make sure people are educated about these rules, as self-driving cars are likely to become more common.
In addition to being able to learn your story on the commute, self-driving cars have many other benefits. Transport Minister Trudy Harrison believes the introduction of these technologies will lead to safer and greener activities on the roads.