News Script: Self-driving cars

MA coursework 2016

Cue: Self-driving cars could be on the roads sooner than you might think with London being the latest city in the UK to begin trials on Google's driverless cars. Our reporter Bethlehem Feleke took a look at how the new technology will affect the taxi industry in the capital.


Disagreements between Uber and black taxicabs have left gridlock on the streets of London, sparking a conversation about the future welfare and stability of taxi drivers in the media recently. But perhaps there is something else on the horizon that taxi drivers should be considering instead…


Ian Shaw, NG engineer: I think we all have to be quite concerned about the rise of driverless cars.

That was Ian Shaw, an engineer for NG who believes we can expect to see self-driving cars in the near future.


But are Londoners ready for a change in the rules of the road?

Vox pop 1: I'd rather they were human.

Vox pop 2: Definitely taxi's driven by a taxi driver. 

Vox pop 3: I'd rather it was a person driving right now with the current state of technology.

Already, there has been the talk of Google’s driverless cars taking to the streets by 2020. This month, the UK government signalled the green light for Google vehicle trials in the capital.


They have funded £20 million towards developing driverless technologies as part of an eight-part project for Intelligent Mobility that will be receiving a total funding of £100 million.


In a statement on Google’s official website, they said, ‘a self-driving car is designed to take you where you want to go at the push of a button. No driving required.'


Google executives say autonomous vehicles could dramatically reduce the number of deaths from traffic accidents worldwide every year, as 94% of accidents in the U.S. involve human error.

What does this mean for the taxi industry?


One man who’s been driving 15 years for taxi company Addison Lee, Andrew Morton, is sceptical of such an acceleration in new technology.


Andrew Morton, Addison Lee taxi driver: The driver will ultimately have more knowledge than a car on the streets. Experienced drivers are worth their weight in gold. I mean the Black Cabs are iconic to London and serve London well.  


Other black cab drivers are concerned about their livelihood.

Taxi driver: This is our trade that we've chosen to go into and it feels like it's being taken away from us.


The taxi industry in London is worth over £2 billion per year. Competitive prices and a greener environment are certainly exciting prospects to look forward to. But what will our future look like?


Their bug-like shell is hardly a touch on the Ferrari. But if they are safer, greener and possibly one day even cheaper to run, could taxis be seeing their last days?


In: Disagreements between Uber…

Out: …seeing their last days?

Dur: 2:23mins

Co-authored by Anna Fleck and Bethlehem Feleke