We are going to have to agree to disagree on this one.
Chelsea tractors , even if they are AV are the past.
They still cause congestion
They cause pollution
In cities they are slow and have low average speeds
In cities there is no parking for them
Because of their kinetic energy and poor visibility when they move they are dangerous.
In Cranebridge, although the Greenways are bad, we see the future:
Autonomous small electric vehicles being developed (see Amazon scout)
Disabled riders on electric mobility buggies - remember Stephen Hawkins
I agree that we are also still stuck in the past and the goto vehicle for a Cranbridge girly is a Chelsea tractor so they can kill world famous botanists riding their bike. But this is going to change. Especially when they try to dump 800,000 more cars on the city due to the OxMkCam arc.
If by Chelsea tractors you mean 4x4's I live in an area where there are lots of them. There's at least one on every farm, people with horses usually have one to to tow a horse trailer, vets use them, the Forestry Commission uses them, people who shoot have them, the electricity board use them and even the Environment Agency has them. The reasons why these different lots of people use an off roader won't suddenly vanish so it's highly unlikely the vehicles are the past.
I haven’t read the whole thread and probably won’t, oh well maybe later.
Chelsea Tractors should, IMHO, all be removed from the road with no buts and no ifs. No one but no one actually needs one, having said that I wouldn’t described the old fashioned and no longer made Land Rover as a Chelsea tractor but rather a specialist and commercial four wheel drive vehicle. Chelsea Tractors are luxury vehicles which are far larger than they should be and they are driven in places where four wheel drive is not needed.
I live in a rural area. The farmers use tractors and occasionally quad bikes to get around their (off track) land and ordinary front wheel drive cars and pick-ups for the rest - not necessarily large vehicles either. Horses are transported in small lorries/vans rather than trailers and the local Vets use ordinary cars. YMMV.
In a shared environment such as the U.K. I would question the individual’s right to own vehicles. Freedom of movement is, I think, a reasonable human right but the way it is expressed in action shouldn’t adversely impact on others. As such I question the need for anyone to own and use any vehicle larger than say a small engined Golf. Bigger vehicles than that might be legal to own by special licence, application for which would need to be supported by demonstration of need.
I appreciate that Utility Companies do sometimes have genuine need for a vehicle that can cover rough terrain, they also have need for something rugged too. The old Land Rover met that need and there is not an obvious alternative, but my suspicion is that people elsewhere in the World are finding ways to manage similar tasks with simpler vehicles - where there is a will there is (almost always) a way. That’s just as well because the old Land Rover is no longer manufactured.
As for the trial. Trials are needed and they have to take place somewhere. In the bigger picture the pollution that they add is so minor as to be of relatively minimal importance, there are better issues to consider. The route and traffic density match the needs of the trial and to be honest opposing the advance of such helpful technology is counterproductive. Society and the environment will mostly reap benefits from driverless vehicles, like all things there will be some downsides but one must look to the bigger picture.