Why do we need trains when driverless technology is upon us?


Trains are locked onto rails…they can’t divert around network outages and are horribly inefficient especially for passenger transit. Basically they don’t work unless massively subsidised.

If we look at the billions poured into Kiwirail since Labour bought it back at an inflated price you can see just how bad and inefficient it is.

I’ve often said rip up the rails and create heavy transport lanes on the land instead, sending buses and trucks down the nice even gradients.

I’ve also said driverless technology will solve transport issues. The video above shows how it can work for bus transport and the Daily Mail also has an article about the advent of driverless trucks for heavy transport.

Self-driving cars have long been confined to the storylines of futuristic films and the engineer’s drawing board but now they finally being tested in real traffic on a German autobahn.

German carmaker Daimler has been trialling a self-driving truck under real traffic conditions on a German motorway for the first time.

The standard Mercedes-Benz Actros truck was fitted with the ‘highway pilot’ system, allowing it to work without a human driver, and travelled from Stuttgart to the town of Denkendorf.  

The vehicle, the world’s first series-production autonomous truck, travelled nine miles on the A8 motorway although there was a driver in the cabin ready to grab the wheel if required.

The driver in question was brave Daimler board member Wolfgang Bernhard, who later praised the experience as ‘a further important step towards the market maturity of autonomously driving trucks.’

He also suggested that self-driving cars could help make ‘safe, sustainable road freight transport of the future.’

‘Safe testing in real traffic is absolutely decisive for the development of this technology to market maturity. We are now able to proceed with this,’ said Bernhard.

The system includes front-mounted radar and a stereo camera, as well as Daimler’s Adaptive Cruise Control system.

Since the Highway Pilot was first tested, the system has been driven on 20,000 kilometres of test routes in Germany and the United States.

 The system also makes allowances for changes in weather or if the road markings on the road are hard to see.

The driver maintains the overall control of decision making, importantly including emergency measure to bring the vehicle to a gradual halt if the driver fails to respond to the system commands.

So, why spend billions on a train system, when new technology extends roading and reduces congestion. Around town I would certainly use self driving vehicles, it would solve a great many problems I currently experience with driving in a city.

By the time Len Brown’s stupid rail system has been built, at great expense to the ratepayers it will be legacy technology superseded by innovation.

– Daily Mail

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