Boris Johnson makes feelings clear on self-driving vehicles after Tesla trip - 'Everyone will be doing it!'

Boris Johnson makes feelings clear on self-driving vehicles after Tesla trip - 'Everyone will be doing it!'
Transport Secretary Mark Harper takes a ride in a self-driving vehicle
Felix Reeves

By Felix Reeves

Published: 20/05/2024

- 11:15

'I can report, ladies and gents, that the overall effect is astonishing'

Boris Johnson has spoken out about the future of self-driving vehicles amid plans from Tesla to roll out its autonomous technology around the world.

The Automated Vehicles Bill, which is expected to receive Royal Assent at some point this month, has prompted experts to say self-driving vehicles are "within reach".

The former Prime Minister has now said that self-driving vehicles could be the solution to dealing with congestion on roads and make the lives of drivers easier.

Johnson recently used a self-driving vehicle in Los Angeles with his wife, Carrie, and his 10-month-old son, and spoke of his nervousness about the new technology.

Do you have a story you'd like to share? Get in touch by

Boris Johnson and a self-driving car

Boris Johnson has supported the use of self-driving cars


He described the vehicle technology as seeming "preposterous", and "audacious" 10 years ago, yet "revolutionary" and still believes that it's something that would be seen on a track or in a lab.

Johnson continued, saying: "I can report, ladies and gents, that the overall effect is astonishing.

"I am sitting at the wheel, but not touching it, and though my feet are near the pedals, I am not using them – and Oh my word, the steering wheel is twiddling itself.

"It’s eerie at first, like watching a ghost depress the keys of a piano. Now it’s indicating, giving way, floating across the traffic with all the delicacy and tact of a living chauffeur. It’s so human, I gasp, so smooth," he told MailOnline.

The former MP for Uxbridge and South Ruislip said he first tried using a Tesla Roadster in 2009, adding that it ran out of battery on the M40.

This led to him having concerns about the future of the brand, but stated that he would not be making the same mistake again.

Johnson added: "Everyone will be doing it: reading a book, playing cards, or just snoozing at the wheel of vehicles moving under their own volition: faster, more quietly, with less pollution – and more safely."

Estimates suggest that the UK's self-driving and autonomous vehicle industry could be worth £42million and create 38,000 jobs by 2035, making the nation a "world-leader".

Last month, Tesla slashed the price of its self-driving technology to just $99 (£77.98) in a bid to give more people access to the impressive feature.

However, founder and CEO Elon Musk initially said that the feature would be worth $100,000 (£77,763) in the near future.

Musk said the value would continue to grow as regulation improves to allow for more access to self-driving technology and as it gets closer to full autonomy.

The Full Self-Driving (supervised) package has only seen the price fall in the United States, but reports have suggested that the brand may be looking to roll the feature out across China.


Self-driving car

The UK has been described as a 'world leader' in autonomous technology


It is expected that Tesla will unveil a Robotaxi in August as the brand potentially moves away from a cheaper electric vehicle rumoured to cost around $25,000 (£19,685).

You may like