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Driverless cars and the future of electric vehicles

Find out more below!

Dan and Bex are on a road trip. When they see an electric car charging at the service station, it gets them thinking about how roads will have to change for new types of cars like these… 

Electric cars are becoming more popular every year. In 2013 there were just 3,500 electric vehicles in the UK, an absolutely minuscule amount compared to the 212,000 at the end of 2018. 

And by 2020, it’s forecast that there will be close to one MILLION.   

A really exciting development might be designated lanes which carry an electric charge so that electric cars won’t have to stop at all!  Unless you want a break of course! 

Driverless cars¬†or CAVs ‚Äď connected autonomous vehicles,¬†do exist!¬†¬†

But how do they work?  Everyday, drivers have to make a bunch of decisions about how and where to move, how fast to go and when to avoid obstacles.  A driverless car will have to make exactly those same decisions by itself, using as much information as it can gather.   

They‚Äôll get information from radars and cameras in the car itself,¬†and also¬†grab information from satellites, road management systems and even other cars ‚Äď to ‚Äúread‚ÄĚ the road and respond in¬†the¬†right¬†way.¬†¬†

Humans might not be able to connect to the internet ‚Äď yet!¬† But they‚Äôre actually very good at making sense of information from¬†OTHER¬†humans.¬† This is handy in situations where there are lots of people in the road, for example in busy cities or at the exit to a¬†special event. Driverless cars might just decide to stop until all the people have gone away.¬†

Roads don‚Äôt have to be black or grey ‚Äď new kinds of surfacing means¬†roads can be in almost any colour you like!¬†

As well as brightly coloured lanes on the motorway, natural shades could be chosen too in greener places ‚Äď that‚Äôs something that‚Äôs already happening ‚Äď at an RSPB nature centre in Nottingham, soft natural¬†greys and browns¬†are¬†used for the surfaces at the visitor centre.

MOBILE: Kids Guide to Transport: Rail and Road

Bex and Dan learn all about the future of Britain's roads and railways!

Are We There Yet? with support from the Royal Academy of Engineering

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Road to 2050

Find out more about why roads are built and how they help us get around the country.

More From Road to 2050