A Driverless Car Almost Killed Jeremy Clarkson

Technology

Jezza doesn't like self-driving cars!? Never would have guessed.

The UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, just declared that driverless cars will be on Britain’s roads within four years. His budget now includes provisions for companies to begin testing right away. Needless to say, some won't like Hammond’s decision. Not surprisingly, Jeremy Clarkson is one of those individuals. In his latest column for The Times, Clarkson issues a warning, so to speak, to Hammond (not the Hamster named Richard) about the potential dangers of driverless cars.

He’s speaking from first-hand experience. The Grand Tour host describes how he was nearly killed twice in a matter of minutes while driving a semi-autonomous vehicle on the M4 highway. “I drove a car the other day which has a claim of autonomous capability and twice in the space of 50 miles on the M4 it made a mistake, a huge mistake, which could have resulted in death,” Jezza said. Which make and model is he talking about? “We have to be very carefully legally, so I’m not going to say which one.” Bummer. However, this was enough to convince Jezza that self-driving tech is “still a very long way off. For now, we’re miles away from it.”

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But why is Hammond and the current UK government keen on getting driverless cars up and running by 2021? Because it would boost the industry and create upwards of 27,000 jobs. Audi is one of the automakers that’ll begin testing self-driving tech in the UK next year. But Clarkson refuses to have anything to do with it (not like they were asking him). “You drive one of your driverless cars over the Death Road in Bolivia and I’ll buy one,” he said. “Sit there with your hands folded and let it drive you up there, then squeeze past a lorry with half the tire hanging over a 1,000ft drop while the car drives itself. Fine, I’ll buy into it.”

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