The world has moved one step closer to driverless cars becoming a reality with the UK Government allowing testing of autonomous vehicles on public roads.

UNTIL NOW driverless, or autonomous, vehicles have only been tested on private road networks or on pre-planned public road routes with the support of local authorities. But now the UK Government has given the green light to car makers and even Internet companies, we’re looking at you Google, to test their vehicles and technology in the real world. Sort of.

The new ruling allows for autonomous vehicles to be tested in set locations, although the Government has said a Code of Practice will be released in the next few months which will provide legal clarity for companies to test vehicles in real-life scenarios around the country (UK).

UK Government Transport Minister Claire Perry said: “Driverless cars are the future. I want Britain to be at the forefront of this exciting new development, to embrace a technology that could transform our roads and open up a brand new route for global investment.

“These are still early days but today is an important step. The trials present a fantastic opportunity for this country to take a lead internationally in the development of this new technology.”

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: “The UK is at the cutting edge of automotive technology – from the all-electric cars built in Sunderland, to the formula 1 expertise in the Midlands. It’s important for jobs, growth and society that we keep at the forefront of innovation, that’s why I launched a competition to research and develop driverless cars. The projects we are now funding in Greenwich, Bristol, Milton Keynes and Coventry will help to ensure we are world-leaders in this field and able to benefit from what is expected to be a £900 billion industry by 2025.

“The government’s industrial strategy is backing the automotive sector as it goes from strength to strength, we are giving business the confidence to invest over the long term and developing cutting-edge technology that will create high skilled jobs.”


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