Starting in January 2015, the UK government plans to allow driverless cars to take to the road showing that they are truly fearless or don't have enough lawyers with lawsuits waiting in the wings.
UK cities can bid for a share of $17 million (GBP 10 million) prize that will allow for trials of driverless cars on public roads in 3 cities. The trials will last between 18 and 36 months.
Government ministers are reviewing regulations to determine how the UK can be on the bleeding edge of driverless car technology and that includes setting up a procedure for their testing in the UK.
Two types of driverless cars will be tested:
- one with a qualified driver ready to take over
- one that is fully autonomous with no driver
This means that in less than 6 months UK roads will see driverless cars which, the government hopes, will be a signal to the rest of the world that the UK is pioneering the development of these types of vehicles.
The government also hopes that driverless cars may, in the long run, contribute to transforming the UK's transport network reducing accidents and congestion while decreasing CO2 emissions and pollution.
The British are showing some determination to get driverless cars into the mainstream of the transport network. For that they should be applauded even though some people in some cities may like to telecommute for a little while until version 3 comes out.