UK to allow driverless cars from January 2015

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UK to allow driverless cars from January 2015

The UK government is aiming to get driverless cars on UK roads by January next year.

Plans to get self-driving cars tested on public roads have been going on for a while but the government want to show that Britain can be a leader in such technologies.

Chancellor George Osborne has spoken about his plans in his National Infrastructure Plan to ensure “"that the legislative and regulatory framework demonstrates to the world's car companies that the UK is the right place to develop and test driverless cars".

And now Vince Cable, the business secretary has said there is a £10 million fund available for self-driving car research in the UK, joint funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Transport.

However this won't be the first tests in the UK as a group of engineers at the University of Oxford have also been experimenting with self-driving cars but concerns over legal and insurance issues have restricted the cars from being unleashed onto public roads.

Tests have also been performed at MIRA's 850 acre site in the Midlands.

A few states in the US have already legalised self-driving cars on their public roads, such as California, Nevada and Florida. California has already tested Google’s self-driving car on over 300,000 miles of road. Sweden and Japan are also testing out driverless cars.

Recently Google have announced plans to manufacture 100 self-driving cars, and they have exhibited a prototype that has no steering wheel or pedals, but amazingly only a stop-go button.

Google also has allowed their technology to be built into cars made by other companies like Audi, Toyota and Lexus, with other car manufacturers developing their own self-driving technologies such as BMW, Mercedes-Benz, among many others.  

Testing in the UK

These driverless cars are expected to start being tested on public roads at the start of 2015.

Three cities across the UK will be selected for these trails, which are said to last between 18 and 36 months starting from January. 

Troy Stanley