Predicting The Driving Tests Of The Future

Issue 99

While breakthroughs in technology continue to influence the driving experience, many young drivers may be imagining what the driving tests of the future will look like.

Recent driving test changes have included chunks of ‘independent driving’, new driving test manoeuvres and updated ‘show me, tell me’ questions in line with modern car interiors.

But how will the driving test continue to evolve? Well, we can expect to see an emphasis on electric vehicles, increasing automation and perhaps even the driverless car.

Luxury car retailer, Jardine Motors, peer into the future and imagine how driving tests will change across time – with a little help from AI.

Electric cars – a silent revolution?

The gentle hum of an EV’s battery pack is arguably as aspirational to the modern consumer today as the petrol-spluttering roar of the V8 engine in the sports cars of yesteryear.

However, with the Government expected to phase out the sale of ICE vehicles by 2030, electric cars will likely become a mainstream reality and not just a status symbol.

While EVs are widely praised for being easy to drive, future drivers must acquaint themselves with their particulars.

The near noiselessness of EVs may mean that learner drivers need to employ a greater awareness of pedestrians and other vehicles. Many pedestrians listen out for cars when crossing roads, which potentially increases hazards for EV drivers, especially in built-up areas. Sharpening up on hazard perception skills may form a larger part of future driving challenges.

In addition, despite having generally lower top speeds than their ICE counterparts, EVs are known for their faster acceleration. A 2021 study found that the average time for an EV accelerating between 30-50mph was 2.5 seconds versus 3.5 seconds for a non-EV car.

Drivers will have to factor this in when learning to drive. Excessively breaking the speed limit may result in an instant failure, while poor judgement of speed can also be one of the most common minor faults.

Drivers must also anticipate this greater potential for acceleration in other vehicles when approaching roundabouts or giveaway junctions.

Single pedals and a new-look passenger area

Inside, electric cars often look different to your typical used Audi A1.

Electric cars usually have a single-speed transmission system that does not require multiple gears, meaning drivers will have to familiarise themselves with automatic transmission.

Typically, gear sticks involve switching between Park, Reverse and Neutral.

Learner drivers will, therefore, be expected to be acquainted with this new-look cabin and all of its various features.

A growing number of electrified vehicles, for instance, make use of one-pedal driving systems. During this process, the electric motor acts as a generator, converting kinetic energy from the vehicle’s forward motion into electricity. This electricity recharges the battery while the car is braking.

Updated ‘Show me, Tell me’ Questions

As per the current driving test, candidates are expected to answer two ‘show me, tell me’ questions.

The content of these will likely evolve in line with the latest automotive technologies.

For instance, instead of fielding current questions like how to clean the rear windscreen or how to switch on the car’s dipped headlights, candidates may be asked to demonstrate how to operate and interpret various features of advanced vehicles.

This could include showcasing knowledge of self-driving capabilities, understanding the intricacies of automated safety systems, and demonstrating familiarity with the latest in-car connectivity and entertainment options.

With concerns over the range of EVs, candidates may also be asked to show their knowledge of how much battery life/range they have remaining.

Manoeuvres in the Age of Automation:

With the advent of self-driving vehicles, the art of manoeuvring is undergoing a paradigm shift. In 2024, there are expected to be 54 million cars globally with at least some level of automation, which may include features such as self-parking or adaptive cruise control.

With this in mind, we went ‘straight to the horse’s mouth’ and asked AI how such features may shape driving tests of the future:

“Driving tests will likely incorporate assessments of a candidate’s ability to understand and interact with the automated systems present in modern vehicles. This may include demonstrating knowledge of adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, and automated emergency braking.

“Candidates may need to showcase their proficiency in activating, deactivating, and appropriately using these features or overriding automated systems in emergencies.

“The driving test of the future will require a blend of traditional driving skills and a profound comprehension of automated features, creating a dynamic examination that reflects the evolving nature of our roadways.”

Technology has already advanced to the point where cars are capable of autonomously parking themselves. As this automation becomes more widespread, the traditional reverse bay park or ‘pull up on the right-hand side of the road’, future learner drivers may be replaced with an exercise in which the driver programs their vehicle to self-park for them.

An awareness of sustainable driving practices

In line with EV driving practices, candidates will likely be judged on their economical use of battery power.

This will include an understanding of how far a car can travel on a single charge while also observing and anticipating its battery usage over the course of a journey.

This may also extend to the theory test in which candidates may have to demonstrate their knowledge of how to maximise battery charge and how best to use electric vehicles in more challenging weather conditions.


As new technologies emerge, the format of the traditional driving test is constantly in flux and is likely to embrace a shift towards electric vehicles, increased automation and sustainable driving practices.

When can we expect to see these changes? You better wait and find out.

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