I’m not ready to give my Polo its freedom just yet

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From Mr Dan Conaghan.

Sir, I was interested to read about the “driverless car” being tested in Parma, Italy (“Look, no hands”, Analysis, September 21) but the article describes how, when the human driver got out of the car to assist a pedestrian, the car sped off without him. Apart from being discourteous, this seems to me to raise a number of questions.

First, how does the now carless driver summon the driverless car back? Second, how will the driverless car prioritise such a summons over, say, its carefully programmed destination? Third, when car and driver are finally reunited, will the bond of trust so necessary between the two not be fatally undermined? One can imagine the angry driver seizing the wheel again himself, (brushing aside the car’s profuse apologies) thereby negating the entire experiment.

Finally, I cannot help thinking that the raison d'être of driverless cars should be to get their human passengers to their destinations rather than themselves. Tempted though I am to give my own Polo a taste of the freedom it doubtless craves, I think I will wait while these issues are resolved.

Dan Conaghan, London SE27, UK

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