Well, it was fun while it lasted, wasn’t it? Land Rover have officially started work on self-driving off-roaders, which means our days are surely numbered.
Okay, so maybe our status as a preeminent off-road centre is not in any immediate danger, but it makes you think, doesn’t it?
A company with the resources of Land Rover has turned its attention to a feasibility study on autonomous all-terrain vehicles, which surely makes it just a matter of time. But then again, it would be unfair of us to be against the idea on principle.
As a Centre, we’re accredited by the British Off-Road Driving Association. That gives us a few things, but above all, it provides an explicit mandate to preach safety and sense in the context of off-roading.
That’s not to say we don’t like fun – we do on the odd occasion – but our raison d’être is to educate drivers to off-road in a way that is sympathetic to both the vehicle and the environment. If you come for an driving experience, you’re told up-front that it isn’t about speed – it’s about control and finesse. If you come for a training course, we’d hope you’re already on that page.
This may come off as pious, but what’s the point in smashing your vehicle into rocks or sand dunes, if it’s only going to result in mechanical damage to your precious 4×4?
This advice is particularly pertinent when you imagine where off-roading can take place. After all, not every grassy track will be within sight of an A-road. You might be several miles up a green lane in the Yorkshire Dales, or worse still, in the middle of the African savannah.
The point to all that rambling is this: anything that can make off-road transit safer is alright in our book. Just, please don’t take our jobs just yet, robots.