The Money Shot: the big driverless car debate

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Google's self-driving car: a total babe magnet, make no mistake
"There is a danger some accidents could be caused by motorists thinking they can stop paying attention to the road before the technology is sufficiently advanced," James Dalton, ABI
  • | by Kristian Dando

Do you ever feel that we’re living in the future?

Not actually the ‘future’ itself as in the space/time continuum – that would open up thoughts about quantum mechanics, string theory and all manner of other things that this weekly personal finance bulletin has no mind for contemplating this early on a Friday morning.

No, reader, we mean ‘the future’ as a concept.

Think about it – those so-called ‘smart phones’ that we carry about are like the tricorders Spock and the gang used to carry about on Star Trek  – happy belated May the 4th, by the way!

We’re able to converse via video with people anywhere on the planet with a half-decent internet connection. We’re even sending stuff to mars.

Oh, and driverless cars could be a reality sooner than you might think.

Lyft, a business which American automotive behemoth General Motors sunk the thick end of $500m into, reckons it can get driverless versions of the Chevrolet Bold on the roads by next year.

Elsewhere, legislation is afoot that could see driverless cars on UK motorways by 2018.

The most tantalising potential benefit to driverless cars is that they take human fallibility out of the equation.

Having an all-seeing computer in charge of maintaining a safe speed and distance, being aware of what’s around it at all times and being able to spot danger means that the human capacity to, scientifically speaking, ‘balls things up’ is greatly reduced

This would mean safer roads, surely?

That’s certainly not the view taken by the Association of British Insurers (ABI).

James Dalton, a director of the ABI, declared this week that driverless technology will lull drivers into “a false sense of security” that will lead to an increase in accidents.

He opined: “There is a danger some accidents could be caused by motorists thinking they can stop paying attention to the road before the technology is sufficiently advanced.”

Of course, nobody has stopped and considered the insurance implications of the driverless car network ‘going Skynet’ and turning on us all and overthrowing the planet, but we’ll leave the armchair sci-fi authors in the audience to ponder that one.

What do you think about driverless cars? Tell us on Twitter or Facebook

News in brief

Tough times for payday lender Wonga – the Newcastle United shirt sponsor this week announced losses of £80m in 2015.

Petrol and diesel prices are sneaking up again, after months of relatively low prices.

High property prices have seen an increase in uptake of 40-year mortgages. (To put this in perspective, your average mortgage has a 25-year term.)

On Covered mag this week

We met the late-blossoming entrepreneurs who are striking out in business after 50.

Our Guide to Britain series hopped on a ferry and plotted a course to the Isle of Wight.

Are speed awareness courses worth it? We pondered the issue so you don’t have to.

Here’s how to get results by complaining on social media.

Covered mag letters


Once again I’m compelled to write to you concerning what’s fast-becoming the Money Shot’s customary tardiness.

My wife Bernice had only just got over the shock of the ‘Shot going missing last month, and the disappointment of last week’s non-arrival saw her overcome with the melancholic vapours and fainting.

I’ll be sending the receipt for the smelling salts I had to buy to revive her in the post. Needless to say, you’ll be hearing from my solicitors in due course.

Frank, Yardley

Join us next week for another sausage-turning edition of the Money Shot. Until then, send us your letters