Self-driving cars could phase out the driving test by 2040

Traditional car sales are expected to be gone by then too


SELF-DRIVING cars could see the driving test made redundant within the next few decades, according to industry experts.

Based on findings and discussions from a panel of automotive industry experts and car manufacturers, it is estimated that the current driving test could be phased out by 2043, as the rise in the sophistication and adoption of autonomous car technology takes over more and more driving duties.

Before then, however, experts predict the driving test will have to evolve to factor in these advanced technologies, in order to ensure that new drivers are comfortable at using systems that can manage some elements of driving a car.

The panel of experts was assembled by HPI, a vehicle data and history-check specialist. Further developments include phasing out the steering wheel within the next 20 years, with a “fully connected and synchronised” network preventing fully self-driving cars from colliding into each other.

It was speculated the car ownership experience will fundamentally change within the next decade, as more motorists sign up to subscription services rather than paying to own the car.

According to Matt Freeman, an automotive analyst on the panel, the rise of car self-driving car will change more than just the driving test. “Ultimately,” says Freeman, “the car will become a pod in which people travel to and from their destinations. They will be able to do other things such as work online, have conversations, play games or even sleep while in transit so the need for road awareness, directions and understanding road signs and signals will be redundant.”

He added: “Consumer resistance to the driverless car should not be underestimated – there are still those who steer clear of satellite navigation. However, for the majority of drivers, driving is a chore, and the banality of modern commuting will push an increasing number of people to explore the technology.”

The most recent revisions to the driving test, last December, saw a modest step toward embracing technology in cars, after it was ruled learner drivers would have to show they could follow directions from a sat nav.

Guide to the new UK driving test for 2018