Saturday, 8 February 2020

HS2 A costly Dead Duck?

Previously, I suggested an alternative to the vastly expensive HS2 Rail Project, which in many senses is not the long-term answer to Britain’s travel needs. I tried to approach Chris Grayling without a nod of acknowledgement. Let’s see if his successor, Grant Shapps, is more positive and responsive.
     To be explicit, I see rail travel as potentially obsolete in the near future. I suspect that the mandarins at Whitehall think otherwise, as might our gung-ho jovial PM Boris Johnson. He’s a bit of a peacock when it comes to vanity defining projects.
     What I foresee is the redundant Honda factory at Swindon being taken over for the production of self-drive cars, perhaps by Ford and Nissan, to produce sufficient of these vehicles to run on smooth, electricity-feeding lanes for stage 1 of the HS2 development project, now in full swing.
     Ditch the proposed HS2 infrastructure with its gantries, tracks and rail stations. Instead, go for an endless stream of cars between destinations. Schedules wouldn’t be needed, neither would be parking space, as and when door-to-door travel is instituted asap.
     I emphasise that the technology is already in place. Read the articles about Nissan’s use of a self-drive Leaf to travel over 230 miles of public roads to show its capabilities.
     See for example
     The question I ask is this: is our present government being run by Dumbos or by visionaries?
Those involved in macro planning for our future transport have read about this, as the article states. It is spread all over the news outlets. If anyone at a senior level is prepared to act as if it doesn’t exist as an alternative, then the entire entourage is truly living in gaga land.
     Isambard Kingdom Brunel wouldn’t have had a cat-in-hells chance if this lot were around. If that is what you want, PM, go ahead and waste ratepayers’ money on what is going to be a bottomless pit.
     Already, you have angered your older voters by fecklessly allowing BBC licence fees to be charged to pensioners, after its bosses have lashed out a lotta lolly on top management. Keep on doing stunts like this by backtracking, you’ll soon be no more trusted than your lame duck adversary.

For those whose interest is immediate, the article is also reproduced below.

Nissan Leaf completes longest driverless car trip after 230 mile journey on electric power

NISSAN'S fully-electric LEAF has completed the longest driverless car journey after travelling 230 miles from Bedfordshire to the company's UK headquarters in Sunderland.

The electric car needed to be topped up with extra charge a total of four times during the journey but only received human interaction when pulling into a bay to charge. The automated journey is the UK’s longest by a single car with Nissan claiming the technology handled complicated motorways, junctions, roundabouts and country lanes all without any human aid.
     Nissan’s car was also able to change lane and stop and start the vehicle where necessary to complete its mammoth journey. 
The £13.5million project was funded by the UK government and nine other partners including Highways England and the University of Leeds.
     The test aimed to identify the possibility of human-like driving experiences through automated road technology. 
Two engineers were on board the car at all times to monitor the vehicle’s reaction to the road. Bob Bateman, Protect manager for Nissan technical Centre said: “The HumanDrive project allowed us to develop an autonomous vehicle that can tackle challenges encountered on UK roads that are unique to this part of the world, such as complex roundabouts and high-speed country lanes with no road markings, white lines or kerbs.”
     The second part of the project looked at how AI technology could develop the user experience. 
     A series of cars were run on private tracks to build up data on real driving experiences. 
The cars were kitted out with GPS, radar and special cameras to build a perception of the world and common dangers often faced by vehicles. 
     It is believed connected cars will be able to use this experience to handle similar situations and come up with a safe route around potential hazards while on the road.  
     The technology could see a range of cars all talking to each other in a bid to boost the safety and security of every automated vehicle. 
     Business Minister, Nadhim Zahawi said: “Safely completing the longest autonomous drive in Britain is an incredible achievement for Nissan and the HumanDrive consortium, and a huge step towards the rollout of driverless cars on UK streets.
“This project is a shining example of how the automotive industry, working with government, can drive forward technology to benefit people’s mobility - while helping to slash carbon emissions.”

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