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SIDEBAR Hammond dismisses Jeremy Clarkson's doubts over driverless cars

Europe
22.11.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
London (dpa) - Britain‘s Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond dismissed doubts about the feasibility of the government‘s plan for driverless vehicles to hit the country‘s roads within four years, in response to outspoken television motoring presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

"There is perhaps no technology as symbolic of the revolution gathering pace around us as driverless vehicles," Hammond said in his budget speech.

"I know Jeremy Clarkson doesn‘t like them," he told parliament. "But there are many other good reasons to pursue this technology, so today we step up our support for it.

"Our future vehicles will be driverless, but they‘ll be electric first," Hammond said. "And that‘s a change that needs to come as soon as possible."

"So we‘ll establish a new 400-million-pound (520-million-dollar) charging infrastructure fund, invest an extra 100 million pounds in Plug-In-Car Grant, and 40 million pounds in charging R&D," Hammond said.

The government plans pilot schemes to test self-driving cars in four cities.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Clarkson had challenged Rupert Stadler, chairman and chief executive of German carmaker Audi, to prove that the technology works.

"The technology isn‘t ready. They‘re not foolproof," Clarkson told the newspaper when asked about plans for driverless cars. 

"[I‘d say to] the chairman of Audi: you drive one of your driverless cars over the Death Road in Bolivia and I‘ll buy one," the newspaper quoted Clarkson as saying.

"Sit there with your hands folded and let it drive you up there, then squeeze past a lorry with half the tyre hanging over a 1,000-foot (300-metre) drop while the car drives itself," he urged Stadler.

"Fine, I‘ll buy it [if it works]," Clarkson said.

Audi showcased what it claimed was the world‘s most advanced self-driving car earlier this year and plans to launch an A8 model with self-driving functions next year.

 

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