WILL we really one day be zooming down motorways and roads in cars we don’t even need to drive?

So it would seem, with the UK set to be at the forefront of the technological and regulatory drive toward, well, driverless cars. Testing is set to get underway on these units – ‘self drive pods’ apparently – in Milton Keynes and Coventry.

Once you get past the ‘sci-fi novel’ feel of it, it all starts to feel a tiny bit creepy – ghost cars, with steering wheels and pedals all moving of their own accord is the image I have in my head.

And then there’s the Highway Code we spent so much time learning in order to pass our test going straight out the window. Admittedly, we have forgotten most of it by the time we peel off the L plates, but even so, annoying.

It’s hard to predict quite how the British public will react. We like our cars and we like being in charge of them. You only have to listen to people moaning about speeding laws to realise that.

Few things get motorists hot under the colour like police officers sat with their speedtraps at various points throughout the land. And I’m never entirely sure why. Most of the time people know what speed limit they should be driving at and most of the time they know when they are breaking it. So what is there to moan about?

It is like being zapped by a speeding gun contravenes some long-standing Magna Carta-like right we have to drive our cars however fast we want on whatever roads we want.

People may not like getting caught but this is an enforcement that has its roots in public safety. It’s pretty well established that the faster you drive, the more likely you are to hurt or kill someone. Cars are potentially lethal instruments in the wrong hands. Sadly there is no shortage of idiots on our roads, and in the wrong hands a car can be just as dangerous as a firearm. You have only to look at some of the dreadful accidents that have blighted Bucks over the recent years to see that principle in action.

So would our roads be safer if drivers were taken out of the equation?

Forgetting the conspiracy theorist’s Artificial Intelligence worries, it seems a safe bet that such a system would cut down on casualties, taking human error out of the equation as it does.

But people being people, I’m sure the ones who are dangers on our roads now will just find new ways to be a liability for the rest of us, taking advantage of the fact they don’t have to do anything as annoying as sit quietly while the car is driving along.

You can already see them hanging out the windows.

I’m no petrolhead Top Gear fan but I like a good drive now and again and there does seem to be something terribly joyless, if sensible, about this idea of literally taking people out of the driving seat.

And anyway, never mind autopilot – can’t they just build those flying cars from Blade Runner instead?

They look much more fun. And according to that film, they are due in about four years’ time anyway.