Leading article: Steer clear

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The Independent Online

It coulf be the end of road rage as we know it. Fresh from revolutionising our lives at home and in the office, software giant Google is turning its attention to the road with the production of technology that will enable us to travel in driverless cars.

Sadly, we won't be able to just hop in the back, shout "Nearest pub, (or supermarket) and make it snappy!", and expect our vehicles to hurtle off obediently to the said destination. We will still have to install the right directions, before setting off in vehicles equipped with "eyes", so that they can – usefully – halt at red lights, level crossings, or ravines, rather than just crashing straight through, across – or down.

But don't underestimate how different the driving experience will be. For the very rich, what future for liveried chauffeurs, when they're sitting in the back with their bosses? What will happen to drink-driving laws, when no one is actually driving, or to drivers' licenses? Not much point in honking horns, either, when they're feet away from you in the back seat – and when the driverless car in front won't take any notice. Road-rage arguments will be more technical. We can all blame our faulty navigation equipment for mishaps or collisions. It all sounds a lot safer, but possibly a tad duller, too.