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“Our future vehicles will be driverless, but they’ll be electric first,," says Philip Hammond ...

Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond today repeated the government’s aim to make the UK a world leader in driverless cars – but said electric ones were the most important priority, with more than half a billion pounds allocated to them, including a £400 million charging infrastructure fund.

In his Budget speech at the House of Commons this afternoon, Hammond said of driverless vehicles: “I know Jeremy Clarkson doesn’t like them.

“But there are many other good reasons to pursue this technology, so today we step up our support for it.

“Our future vehicles will be driverless, but they’ll be electric first, and that’s a change that needs to come as soon as possible.

“So we’ll establish a new £400 million charging infrastructure fund, invest an extra £100 million in Plug-In-Car Grant, and £40 million in charging R&D.”

Returning to the subject of Clarkson, he added: “Sorry Jeremy, not the first time you've been snubbed by Hammond and May."

The government has promised to develop "the most advanced regulatory framework for driverless cars in the world."

Initially, it is believed that an amendment to the Road Traffic Act may permit manufacturers to test fully autonomous vehicles on the country’s roads, with approval given on a case-by-case basis.

Lord Adonis, the Labour peer and former Transport Secretary who is now chairman of the National Infrastructure Commission, said investment was needed to make roads suitable for the cars of the future.

He said: “Once the preserve of sci-fi, the driverless car is now tantalisingly close and as companies spend billions developing these new vehicles, we need to turn our attention to the roads they appear on."

On Sunday, Hammond said that driverless cars would be on Britain’s roads by 2021, but confessed he had not ridden in one – something he planned to rectify on a visit to the West Midlands earlier this week.

However, according to the Daily Telegraph, the idea was vetoed by Number 10 due to the potential for the photo-opportunity to give rise to headlines about the government itself being ‘driverless’.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/11/20/philip-hammonds-plan-trip-dri...

In response to the Budget speech, leader of the opposition Jeremy Corbyn said the government was “investing in driverless cars after months of road-testing back seat driving in government.”

Unsurprisingly, there was no specific mention in the Budget of cycling.

Earlier this week, the Department for Transport announced a new £1.7 billion Transforming Cities Fund to create better links between city centres and suburban areas, though again, with no reference to the role cycling might play within that.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.

35 comments

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jasecd [510 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes

I imagine the chancellor thinks that bikes are only for children and poor people. \

But well done for the Hammond & May joke. I guess it's fitting as Clarkson is an elitist anachronism who was far more popular a few years ago, much like the Tory party.

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Deeferdonk [131 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

To be fair, there is 0% VAT on bike fuel (i.e cake)  1

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ChrisB200SX [623 posts] 3 months ago
8 likes
Lord Adonis wrote:

" investment was needed to make roads suitable for the cars of the future."

I'd just settle for them being suitable for the transport we currently use.

I'm not really sure why the cars of the future won't be made suitable for our roads rather than vice versa?

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reliablemeatloaf [108 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

I think they first need to address the problem that driverless cars seem to have with cyclists - cyclists can't always be recognized as such, and the cars tend to drive dangerously around them. I may be cynical, but I suppose they will address this problem the way the software industry handles bugs - they will let the cars on the roads, and let consumers be the beta-testers, and find the bugs. Sure, cyclists are going to be KSI, but that is a small price for the industry to pay to work out the flaws. It's  probably cheaper to settle lawsuits than it is to do the R&D to iron out the problems before the cars take to the roads.

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oldstrath [953 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:
Lord Adonis wrote:

" investment was needed to make roads suitable for the cars of the future."

I'd just settle for them being suitable for the transport we currently use.

I'm not really sure why the cars of the future won't be made suitable for our roads rather than vice versa?

Because improving the car's safety performance to an acceptable level, even if possible, will cost private companies money that could be profit. Getting the taxpayer to reduce the complexity of the roads transfers the cost nicely, and increases their profit. Exact same reason why cyclists will be driven off the roads.

Remember the Tory party exists to serve the rich and the corporations.

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don simon [1768 posts] 3 months ago
6 likes

He does realise that driverless and chauffeured are different, doesn't he?

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fukawitribe [2136 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
reliablemeatloaf wrote:

I think they first need to address the problem that driverless cars seem to have with cyclists - [...] the cars tend to drive dangerously around them.

Citation please, hadn't realised there was a detailed over-view available of that yet. Google seem to be having quite the opposite problem, at least with hipsters...  3

http://uk.businessinsider.com/google-self-driving-cars-get-confused-by-h...

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carytb [128 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
Deeferdonk wrote:

To be fair, there is 0% VAT on bike fuel (i.e cake)  1

Unfrtunately I think there is as cake is a luxury item. Biscuits however are deemed to be essential and therefore do not attract VAT. It's probable the small cake shop that may not be registered. I recall there was a big legal question some years ago "Is a Jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit m'lud?"

 

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carytb [128 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

It would have a been a great idea to give either tax breaks or subsidies for electric bikes

 

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frogg [135 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

"I think they first need to address the problem that driverless cars seem to have with cyclists - cyclists can't always be recognized as such, ..."

The problem will be solved easily, and pronto. Bicycles will be removed from the road and allowed only in the backcountry, for safety reasons of course !

Road space has to be cleared for electric and self driving cars, the next Gold rush for the car manufacturers ...

And the fun part of all this is that cycling will be painted by the media as unsecure, but not the driverless cars !!!!!

We can already sense the beginning of that transition

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1961BikiE [405 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

Can I be sued if I opine that the chancellor will reap the benefits of the motor lobby for this? Directorship on the cards?
And on a related note; so now the country has a new white elephant to fund beside HS2! Good old austerity eh when there's money for nothing - unless it helps our buddies.

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frogg [135 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

"Remember the Tory party exists to serve the rich and the corporations...." and why is the actual Mayor of London "backpedalling" on Cycle SuperHighways ? hmmm

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ConcordeCX [634 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes
ChrisB200SX wrote:
Lord Adonis wrote:

" investment was needed to make roads suitable for the cars of the future."

I'd just settle for them being suitable for the transport we currently use.

I'm not really sure why the cars of the future won't be made suitable for our roads rather than vice versa?

as any fule kno, the cars of the future will levitate electromagnetically above the road surface, so a couple of Scalectrix-like strips will need to run the length of each carriageway. 

 

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Jitensha Oni [105 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Charity begins at home. Wonder how he’ll mitigate the massive backup every morning in his constituency, from here
https://goo.gl/maps/vJASyHdAW922
to (at least) here
https://goo.gl/maps/VNLmh8vnaXy
Bulldoze Weybridge maybe?
And SurreyCC tried to increase cycling share so hard…
https://goo.gl/maps/e8AyskCd7oJ2

 

 

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IanW1968 [357 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes

Hahahhahaahahhahahahhahahahahahahahhahahahajhahajajahajhshahahahahahahhshahhshshahshhs #fuckyouplebs

#lookingaftertherich

Avatar
Deeferdonk [131 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
carytb wrote:
Deeferdonk wrote:

To be fair, there is 0% VAT on bike fuel (i.e cake)  1

Unfrtunately I think there is as cake is a luxury item. Biscuits however are deemed to be essential and therefore do not attract VAT. It's probable the small cake shop that may not be registered. I recall there was a big legal question some years ago "Is a Jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit m'lud?"

 

If only there was some simple way on the internet to check your facts before incorrectly telling people they are wrong. "No VAT is charged on plain biscuits or cakes. But when a biscuit is covered in chocolate it becomes a luxury and standard rate VAT at 20% is added to the price. Mcvities, the market leaders for Jaffa Cakes added chocolate to the cake and tangy orange base, so classifying them as cakes, not biscuits"

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frogg [135 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

"It would have a been a great idea to give either tax breaks or subsidies for electric bikes "

It won't be long , take my word, before ebikes have to be registered, insured and won't be allowed to speed above some limit. They will be highly regulated, just wait for the next accident involving one.

It' the same scam all over again, they just replace the motor with an electric one pretending it's greeeeeeen (and safe).  It's all about profits and taxes, taxes, taxes. The economic sphere and their political puppets (any one) have the same interests. If they did care as much about their citizens, there would be tens of thousands miles of cycle lanes. But no.

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rkemb [57 posts] 3 months ago
2 likes
frogg wrote:

It won't be long , take my word, before ebikes have to be registered, insured and won't be allowed to speed above some limit. They will be highly regulated, just wait for the next accident involving one.

They already are regulated. In the EU, for use on-road, the motors cannot deliver more than 250W and must cut out above 25 km/h. More than that and they count as a motorcycle and fall under motor vehicle regulation.

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brooksby [2919 posts] 3 months ago
4 likes

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?  Some  commenters are already doing a Cassandra on our ability to power just the stuff we already have, without throwing electric cars into the mix...

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fukawitribe [2136 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?  

Well don't know that it's a problem but, yes, it does mean that. Thing is that electricity can be generated in any number of ways, many of which are more sustainable and a number of which are starting to be possible at similar, or lower costs, than propellants derived from fossil fuels. Then there's the issue of the combustion products and so on.

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Simon E [3207 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
brooksby wrote:

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?

It does, but so does the energy required to refine and transport fuel.

Robert Llewellyn demonstrates just how much of our electricity is used refining oil for fuel: https://youtu.be/854qFolHp4s?t=292 (the link should skip the review and jump to the start of the explanation).

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Lincolnshire Mamil [6 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
reliablemeatloaf wrote:

I think they first need to address the problem that driverless cars seem to have with cyclists - cyclists can't always be recognized as such, and the cars tend to drive dangerously around them. I may be cynical, but I suppose they will address this problem the way the software industry handles bugs - they will let the cars on the roads, and let consumers be the beta-testers, and find the bugs. Sure, cyclists are going to be KSI, but that is a small price for the industry to pay to work out the flaws. It's  probably cheaper to settle lawsuits than it is to do the R&D to iron out the problems before the cars take to the roads.

What’s KSI?

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nniff [222 posts] 3 months ago
1 like

What’s KSI?

[/quote]

 

Killed or Seriously Injured

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PRSboy [143 posts] 3 months ago
3 likes

I do find it distasteful that taxpayers are subsidising the purchase and running costs of £30k+ EVs.

What exactly is the obsession with driverless cars anyway?  Most cars have one occupant as far as I can see.

Would it not be better to spend the money on educating actual drivers not to drive into other people?

Judging by the laughable condition of roads round Oxfordshire, investment is sorely needed for cars now, let alone cars of the future.

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ironmancole [358 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Sounds similar to the situation in the US back in the fifties/sixties? whereby a Ford model was knowingly sold as being dangerous but it was deemed economically better for Ford to pay off the damages resulting from death and injury than to recall the car and retro fix the underlying issues.

The motor industry therefore has prior form on putting cash before people making it a reasonable assumption to make that it will be the vulnerable road users around the new cash cows that are forced to pay the price.  I'm all up for removing the dangerous component from cars, the idiot behind the wheel, but surely any company knowingly putting a product on the public highway that doesn't have suitable algorhythms/strategies for dealing with anything other than another vehicle would be an en masse invitation for joint litigation?

Having said that we're dealing with a tory government here so I wouldn't be suprised at anything they get up to 'out the back with their elitist pals' and of course the Road Haulage Industry bigwigs.

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davel [2125 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
brooksby wrote:

Isn't the problem with electric cars supposed to be that all that electricity still has to come from *somewhere*?  Some  commenters are already doing a Cassandra on our ability to power just the stuff we already have, without throwing electric cars into the mix...

But electricity can be produced via numerous sources - even if some of them are currently inefficient. Getting a large proportion of cars onto electricity at least moves them onto that potential mix, and away from oil dependency.

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earth [394 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes

Although there is no direct award to cycling this will benefit indirectly because electric cars will not be producing local pollution and I dare say driverless cars will become safer than human drivers.

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oldstrath [953 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
earth wrote:

Although there is no direct award to cycling this will benefit indirectly because electric cars will not be producing local pollution and I dare say driverless cars will become safer than human drivers.

You dare say it if you want. But it won't happen by magic or good intentions, because it will cost the companies. It will require regulation, well planned and strongly enforced. Just the things this shower are utterly uninterested in. So much simpler to accept a few deaths, get rid of cyclists, and take the money.

Avatar
earth [394 posts] 3 months ago
0 likes
Deeferdonk wrote:
carytb wrote:
Deeferdonk wrote:

To be fair, there is 0% VAT on bike fuel (i.e cake)  1

Unfrtunately I think there is as cake is a luxury item. Biscuits however are deemed to be essential and therefore do not attract VAT. It's probable the small cake shop that may not be registered. I recall there was a big legal question some years ago "Is a Jaffa cake a cake or a biscuit m'lud?"

 

If only there was some simple way on the internet to check your facts before incorrectly telling people they are wrong. "No VAT is charged on plain biscuits or cakes. But when a biscuit is covered in chocolate it becomes a luxury and standard rate VAT at 20% is added to the price. Mcvities, the market leaders for Jaffa Cakes added chocolate to the cake and tangy orange base, so classifying them as cakes, not biscuits"

 

Everyone knows they are classified as a cake and not a biscuit because they turn hard when off instead of soggy.

Avatar
kil0ran [708 posts] 3 months ago
1 like
oldstrath wrote:
earth wrote:

Although there is no direct award to cycling this will benefit indirectly because electric cars will not be producing local pollution and I dare say driverless cars will become safer than human drivers.

You dare say it if you want. But it won't happen by magic or good intentions, because it will cost the companies. It will require regulation, well planned and strongly enforced. Just the things this shower are utterly uninterested in. So much simpler to accept a few deaths, get rid of cyclists, and take the money.

The only solution I can see is an EU-mandated safety firmware as part of type approval. That way each car can be engineered in the knowledge that all other AVs will respond identically to a given safety situation. Otherwise I can imagine a situation where manufacturers tune their AVs to match brand values (i.e. anything painted black from VW/Audi will be mandated to drive like an utter cockwomble around cyclists)

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