Could it be the end of the road for the driving test asks HPI?

The driving test as we know it could reach the end of the road within 25 years according to automotive data and valuations expert HPI.

Together with a panel of auto industry experts, Matt Freeman, a consultant with HPI believes that rapidly advancing vehicle autonomy could see the demise of the driving test as the need for road skills and driving ability take a back seat.

Commented Matt: “Vehicle autonomy will undoubtedly be the greatest driver of change in the automotive sector has ever witnessed. We can expect this to impact every single facet of the motor industry from the way vehicles are made, to the way they are sold, to the way they are driven.”

The debate around customer resistance to the introduction of autonomous vehicles is one which will quickly be overtaken by the roll-out of the technology. With brands showcasing limited self-driving technologies ranging from traffic jam management to highway autopilot, Matt believes we can expect consumer resistance to decline in proportion to peoples’ experience of the technology. Moreover, the driving test will need to adapt to the rollout of vehicle autonomy to ensure that new drivers are properly prepared for a rapidly changing driving environment.

The Driving Test was first started on British roads eight decades ago on 1st June 1935, and due to the number of casualties on the roads, early examiners were recruited from the services and Police. In 1935 there were only 1.4m cars on the road – today there are over 38 million in the UK.

The number of driving test entries has fallen in 2018. Figures from the Department for Transport show that 465,650 people sat practical tests in the first three months of this year, down almost 11 per cent on the same period last year. The pass rate also dropped to 45.4 per cent — the lowest level in nine years.

In 2018, HPI is also celebrating 80 years since it introduced the world’s first vehicle history checker.

Since the launch of the original HPI Check in 1938, the automotive sector has witnessed dynamic change and eight decades on, hpi check has established itself as a market leading tool trusted by millions of UK motorists.

As part of its 80 year anniversary, HPI asked a panel of industry experts consisting of its own editors and motor manufacturers* for their automotive predictions over the next 80 years.

The specialists offered insight across a number of issues ranging from technology and innovation, vehicle design, fuel, buying and selling vehicles and car crime in a bid to predict how motoring will change beyond all recognition over the next 80 years.

Amongst its findings and predictions, the panel highlighted the following predictions and trends:

Internet will be standard in all vehicles in the next 5-10 years meaning connectivity to mobiles, work and home appliances will be commonplace

Cars will be fully connected and synchronised resulting in a significant reduction in road traffic accidents

Virtual co-pilots will control more of our driving enabling automatic lane changes and parking.

The next 10-20 years will see autonomous cars completely changing travel with motorists able to work, socialise and even sleep when driving

Within 10 years there’ll be more focus on the interior rather than the exterior of the car with touch screens, entertainment, refreshments and comfort all incorporated within the design.

Within 20 years steering wheels will be a thing of the past

The next five years will see motorists increasingly buying personalised cars online with virtual test drives and home delivery and in 10 years will move from car ownership to ‘usership’ with traditional dealers offering leasing and subscription services

Matt believes that as cars become more advanced, the need for driving tests will eventually be phased out, adding: “Ultimately, 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, and occasional media stories about drivers ending up off-road due to obsolete mapping show they may have a point! 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 Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) has developed a six-level classification system for autonomous vehicles, and Matt says that once we reach Level 3 the acceptance of vehicle autonomy by the general public will begin to gain momentum. At Level 4 the momentum will become unstoppable, and we will start to see radical changes in the way consumers perceive vehicles. Some brands are already preparing for this.

In 2015 Mercedes-Benz showed its F015 concept vehicle. Matt says: “The F015’s most interesting features are in the interior, which is characterised as a “digital living space” – the exterior is essentially a container for this space and a basis for passive and active safety systems. At a stroke, Mercedes destroyed the rationale of current vehicle design: in the future, it will be the interior which will drive consumer desire – the exterior will be relegated to mere packaging.”

Added Matt Freeman: “We’ve provided car buyers with vital information about the car they’re looking to buy ever since 1938. With 80 years of trust, expertise and experience established with motorists and the motoring trade, cap hpi has evolved with the motoring world and will continue to do so. With all these potential changes on the horizon including our prediction for the traditional driving test, the next 80 years presents a very exciting future for the motor industry.”

HPI Check data has identified that there is a one in three chance of uncovering a hidden problem, one in 16 vehicles has a mileage discrepancy, and one in five cars has had a plate change.

The HPI Check protects buyers against making a costly mistake by revealing whether a vehicle is currently recorded as stolen with the police, has outstanding finance against it, or has been written off. It also includes as standard, a mileage check against the National Mileage Register, which has records of over 200 million mileage readings.

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