The coming generation of smarter vehicles will display travel updates and warnings on their dashboards according to Transport Scotland. The news was unveiled as part of the organisation’s Future Intelligent Transport System (ITS) Strategy, which outlines the plans for the nation’s future road infrastructure. Transport Minister Humza Yousaf says the document is fluid and ready for tech integration.
Transport Scotland plans to take advantage of advances in emerging tech for vehicles, such as sensors, to display more detailed ‘in-vehicle’ information on accidents and journey times, for example. Faster wireless technology will also mean that drivers will receive these updates more quickly.
The news comes shortly after Jaguar Land Rover became the first UK-based manufacturer to test driverless cars on British roads. The car maker has been trialling their vehicles capabilities for several weeks on a half-mile route in Coventry city centre. According to the BBC, JLR’s cars are also experimenting with communications tech with other vehicles.
But questions have been raised as to how intrusive Transport Scotland’s messages will be – both in physical and privacy terms. Jack Cousens, Public Affairs Officer at The AA, claimed that drivers will only accept the changes if they are not obstructive. He said: “It all remains a bit of an unknown, but the rate of technological change will have a big impact on the driving experience in the coming years. There are obvious limitations to the traditional roadside messaging systems, such as your view being blocked by an HGV, so I think motorists would welcome anything that makes the messaging more targeted.
“However, we need to make sure it is the appropriate message for the appropriate occasion and we don’t want anything that strays into the spam or advertorial territory. Crucially, I think most motorists will want the choice to switch it off as well.
“The real-time exchange of information between roadside systems and vehicles is interesting, there are real wins here in terms of letting people know how serious an accident is and if they should take a different route. But also feeding back information in a more local setting, say about black ice, could help the vehicles following on.”
Ben Gardner, a leader in autonomous vehicle regulation at law firm Pinsent Masons, said: “The in-car technology is pretty much there in terms of both connected and autonomous vehicles but there is a lot still to be done in terms of roadside infrastructure. The big potential gains come when connected vehicles start interacting with each other and the road network. Then you will see real differences in many areas not least road safety where the data gathered by your car is helping to make journeys safer for the car five minutes behind you on the same road.
“There is likely to be generational split on this. For it to work properly you have to allow your data to be handed over so that it is your car transmitting where and when you are going places.
“For the younger generation, they have grown up with things such as Facebook where everything is shared. But this will not be for everyone.”