THERE’S something ironic about a motoring-friendly monarch announcing a bid to back driverless cars.
Her Majesty loves driving so much that for years she had a Rover P5B parked nearby just for her personal use (and don’t forget, she’s a trained mechanic). Yet it was the Queen’s Speech last week that the Government used to signal it was going to be doing more to make driverless cars a reality, partly by encouraging British firms to make them work properly and partly by insisting that we should all be able to get insurance cover for them.
Which you’d think would leave me a little uneasy.
I – as anyone who’s read Life On Cars over the past seven years might have gathered by now – love driving. I love it so much that I’ll end a stressful day at the office by hopping into an MX-5 and doing 15 miles for no good reason other than it being enjoyable. I love jumping into different cars and delving into the different facets of what they do, and discovering whether they’re better at making big distances disappear or making corners a thing to be reveled in. I’ll go the long way around simply because there’s a nice road somewhere in the Peak District, and wind down my window in the Mersey Tunnel if I’m in something with a memorable exhaust note. Enjoying driving is what great cars are all about.
But driverless cars get my support, and it only takes a return trip to Oxfordshire to explain why.
On a working day with an appointment in Abingdon I spent four of my eight hours doing just one thing; driving. It wasn’t the sort of driving I crave, but a dull, monotonous slog on congested bits of the M40. Not since I watched the Star Wars: The Phantom Menace have I clocked up the hours I’ve lost from my life. Time I could’ve spent tapping up articles on my laptop or dreaming up new and creative ways to banish Katie Hopkins from Britain forever were spent looking at the back of stationary Nissan Qashqais.
Driverless cars will give us all those wasted hours back. As long as David Cameron enshrines our right to safely enjoy the B4391 on a sunny Sunday afternoon then I’ll happily back any car that lets me sit in the back with a laptop and a pint while it does all the hard work.
I suspect even Her Majesty would probably approve – she can finally sack the chauffeur!