A Self-Driving Car Scared The Crap Out Of Jeremy Clarkson
Unsurprisingly, he’s not exactly a “fan” of the technologyby Jonathan Lopez, on
Former Top Gear host, current The Grand Tour host, and ardent lover of hot meals Jeremy Clarkson recently had a go in an autonomous car, and claims it nearly resulted in death – twice. Clarkson relates his experience in an op-ed piece published by The Sunday Times, which comes at a time when the U.K. is considering testing autonomous car tech on public roads.
While there are a few critical details left out of the tale, Clarkson’s account does sound rather harrowing. “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,” the TV presenter writes.
Twice in the space of 50 miles on the M4 it made a mistake, a huge mistake, which could have resulted in death
Granted, Clarkson is a bit of a luddite when it comes to new car technology, and based on his past televised experiences with modern infotainment systems, it’s entirely possible Clarkson just didn’t quite understand how the autonomous system worked (or at least, how it was supposed to work).
We’d love to know what the car in question was, but fearing legal reprisal, Clarkson didn’t care to identify the autonomous vehicle that nearly resulted in a fatal accident.
Unsurprisingly, Clarkson thinks there’s still a good deal of development left before we should put driverless cars on public roads, writing, “For now, we’re miles away from it.” The timing of the op-ed coincides with renewed discussion of the tech in Britain, as U.K. Chancellor Philip Hammond is expected to soon give the go-ahead for public testing of self-driving technology. Perhaps the op-ed is a way to stir up some resistance to the move.
What would it take to get Clarkson to actually buy a self-driving car? “You drive one of your driverless cars over the death road in Bolivia and I’ll buy one,” he writes, referencing a Top Gear special from 2009 wherein he and his co-hosts traverse one of the most dangerous roads in the world. “Sit there with your hands folded and let it drive you up there, then squeeze past a lorry with half the tire hanging over a 1,000ft drop while the car drives itself. Fine, I’ll buy into it.”
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