Written evidence submitted by Mr Ian Murray (SDV0001)
Animals on Roads
- Living in the countryside, several different roads I frequently drive along pass through the middle of common land, road speed limit ranges from 30 mph to the national 50 mph and street furniture includes warning signs for cows, sheep, horses and deer. Naturally as a driver, I drive with more caution around corners with the potential of coming across horse riders, cows, or sheep, and in the dark, deer or the very occasional wild boar. Examples that I have personally come across, and that self-driving vehicles must be capable or avoiding include:
- A road full of cows, just around a blind left-hand corner in a 50 mph zone, I was doing 30 mph and stopped in time. I assume a self-driving vehicle doesn’t read warning road signs and would be traveling at ~45 mph. One wonders if self-driving vehicles understand the warning school children signs either. Is legislation to read and understand warning signs needed?
- Three sheep lying partly on the road and partly on the grass verge, alive but not moving.
- Twenty plus deer wondering along the road ahead of my car, giving me no option but to follow at 4 mph, there being hedges on both sides of the road for over 200 metres, before a gap at the start of the next wooded area allowed these frightened spooked animals to escape into the trees.
- Cattle grids and speed humps, can self-driving cars ‘see’ these and slow down appropriately?
- Another feature of living in the countryside is roads that are no wider than a car. When driving along these roads, I routinely make a mental note of the most recent area of road that could potentially be used as a passing place if I suddenly find another vehicle approaching from the opposite direction. This enables me to reverse back if the other vehicle cannot. Note that some drivers are incapable or so inconsiderate and self-centred that they refuse to reverse.
- How would a self-driving vehicle cope with this type of narrow road and what happens if both vehicles are self-driving or there are more than one vehicle traveling in each direction?
- How does a self-driving vehicle cope with the idiot who refuses to reverse?
- How do self-driving vehicles cope with a road that narrows into one carriageway such as under or over a bridge, with or without a warning sign stating who has priority?