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Bonkers Blog February 2019

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21 February - Bexley’s road planners are a disaster for vehicle automation

My friend Teresa - no not that one silly - asked me how an autonomous vehicle could negotiate Bexley’s folly at Trinity Place. She asked me because she knows, at least I think she does, that my son is heavily involved in the development of autonomous vehicles.

He has advised all the big names in the industry, insurance companies and statutory bodies. That is how I came to know of the new speed obedient buses long before Councillor Val Clark did and there is a lot more of that sort of thing coming.

Silly roundabout Silly roundaboutSo I sent him these two pictures and asked him. I described how exactly a week ago I tried to use the Trinity Place roundabout as a T junction as instructed by the road signs but a bus driver waved me through because he was treating it as a roundabout.

I doubt I would be thanked for posting his complete reply here but from the tone of it I suspect he would agree with me that Bexley’s road planners are damned fools.

His answer is that such a roundabout could be negotiated “imperfectly but not disastrously” by a specially programmed pod. That is a vehicle such as those that have been on test in Greenwich on specified routes. Built in artificial intelligence would help it keep out of trouble in the longer term.

But for fully autonomous level 5 vehicles it might be a different matter.

“It is a great example for the autonomous industry and could easily be missed in development with adverse consequences! It might just throw its hands up in the air and give up or make a badly wrong choice.”

He goes on in polite terms to say that it would help if local authorities knew what they were playing at and observed standard good practice.


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