Now that the British government is expecting autonomous tech developers to begin testing their vehicles on UK roads by 2021, a strong case could be made for these tests to be conducted in enclosed environments.
At least, that's how driving sim company Cruden feels, calling for such tests to be carried out virtually, in a safer, and more cost-effective, manner.
Jelle van Doornik, development engineer at Cruden, said that getting "repeatable and controlled testing for Level 3, 4 and even Level 5 vehicles cannot be completed on UK roads with real traffic without risking accidents, hence the need for the industry to embrace simulator testing."
"Through sophisticated, realistic driving simulators, Cruden can offer a driver-in-the-loop simulator to test advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicle systems that will reduce costs and development time. We invite car manufacturers, regulators and psychologists to get in touch to discuss how driving simulation can help the development of autonomous vehicles. We look forward to helping to shape this exciting new era of mobility."
The UK government has already made specific changes both in regulations and its budget in order to allow driverless cars to begin testing on public roads without any human operator either inside or outside the vehicle. So even if it's safer and more efficient to test these technologies in a lab, it would appear the world's governments want these cars to be tested in real-world traffic conditions.
Now, the question is would you feel safe knowing self-driving prototypes are roaming your city without anybody on board to take over if the electronics don't work as advertised?