End of the road for


L plates could be a thing of the past

THE driving test as we know it could reach the end of the road within 25 years and steering wheels will become a thing of the past ever sooner.

That's according to motor industry experts who were asked by data and valuations company HPI to predict how motoring will change over the coming years.

The specialists offered insight across a number of issues ranging from technology and innovation, vehicle design, fuel, buying and selling vehicles and car crime in a bid to predict how motoring will change beyond all recognition in the future.

The panel of auto industry experts, led by Matt Freeman, a consultant with HPI, forecast that rapidly advancing vehicle autonomy could see the demise of the driving test as the need for road skills and driving ability take a back seat.

They are convinced that the next 10-20 years will see autonomous cars completely changing travel with motorists able to work, socialise and even sleep when driving.

Matt believes that the current consumer resistance to autonomous cars will decline in proportion to peoples' experience of the technology. Moreover, the driving test will need to adapt to the rollout of vehicle autonomy to ensure that new drivers are properly prepared for a rapidly changing driving environment.

Says Matt: "Vehicle autonomy will undoubtedly be the greatest driver of change the automotive sector has ever witnessed. We can expect this to impact every single facet of the motor industry from the way vehicles are made, to the way they are sold, to the way they are driven."

Among experts' other predictions: Internet will be standard in all vehicles in the next five to ten years; cars will be fully connected and synchronised resulting in a significant reduction in road traffic accidents; virtual co-pilots will control more of our driving enabling automatic lane changes and parking; steering wheels will be a thing of the past within 20 years.

And they believe that the way we buy our cars will change within a decade, moving from car ownership to ‘usership' with traditional dealers offering leasing and subscription services

Matt reckons that as cars become more advanced, the need for driving tests will eventually be phased out, adding: "Ultimately, the car will become a pod in which people travel to and from their destinations. They will be able to do other things such as work online, have conversations, play games or even sleep while in transit so the need for road awareness, directions and understanding road signs and signals will be redundant."


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