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Controlled Environment On The Roads

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

The DriveWrite Archives British Government

Controlled Environment On The Roads

Geoff Maxted
DriveWrite
October 8, 2013


Motorway
It‘s doubtful that many motorists are aware of this but our poor blighted road system is soon to become home to Britain’s first high-tech highway. Yes folks, in just a few short weeks we will see our automotive future. What you may think about it is a different matter.

Essentially the deal is this: A fifty mile stretch of the A14 between Birmingham and Suffolk will be fitted with electronic gadgetry which will communicate with modern cars. The system has the potential to monitor traffic, warn of obstructions and perform many other tasks but, and this is more concerning, it could also have the ability to artificially limit a car’s speed. Clearly this won’t happen now as it would result in drivers believing there was something wrong with the motor - but it is possible and indeed probable in the future.

The cars will communicate with the gizmos which will allow the operators to build up a picture, by way of a central computer, of congestion and the like. Much in the same way that satellite navigation works, the technology could establish the build-up of a traffic jam and calculate alternative routes.

There’s a theme building here. Manufacturers, as we all know very well, are building autonomous cars that can drive themselves. They will leave the driver free to do - what - whilst the car takes care of itself. The thinking is that accidents could become a thing of the past thanks to the science of automotive engineering. We are already seeing crash avoidance technology on cars today. Clearly the intention is for this auto technology to merge with roadside systems with the intention of controlling traffic entirely.

Rather disingenuously, the various bodies involved in this are talking up the benefits of, say, having the machine find a parking space for you whilst remaining rather more tight-lipped about control.

This is the usual route of persuasion. The carrot on the end of a stick. They will say - ‘Look at how we can help you’. In fact, for anyone who likes cars and driving it is a clear and present danger signal that the days of carefree motoring will be over in a matter of decades. Nobody has any objection to making cars safer but it the loss of individuality and the freedom of the road that will suffer. Cars will just be transport. Shuttles to get people from A to B. What a dull world that will be.



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