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Driverless Cars and the Railways of 1830

Jonathan Freedland compares the death of William Huskisson MP on the opening day of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway with the first death to result from driverless vehicles.

Jonathan Freedland compares safety on the railways in the 1830s to the debate around driverless cars today.

The Liverpool and Manchester Railway was opened to great fanfare on 15 September 1830. It was clear this new form of transport would radically transform society. Yet the day was overshadowed by the death of William Huskisson MP who stepped on the tracks and was struck by Stephenson's Rocket as it steamed down the line.

With the the first death to result from driverless vehicles in Arizona a few weeks ago, Jonathan Freedland and guests tell the story of Huskisson's death and explore the implications for the development of self-driving vehicles today.

Producer: Laurence Grissell.

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28 minutes