Britain could soon be awash with driverless cars, if the government's plans come to fruition. It announced it wants the UK to be at the forefront of the development of driverless cars, and will carry out a review next year to make sure the legislative and regulatory framework is in place. Then the unmanned vehicles will be free to roam on our roads.
The government announced its plans in the National Infrastructure Plan 2013. Head to page 65, and you'll see driverless cars described as "innovative technology" that will "change the way the world's towns and cities look and the way people travel; they present opportunities for the British automotive industry in the manufacture of the cars and the wider science and engineering sectors in the design of towns." In other words, they're kind of a big deal.
The government review will aim to demonstrate to car companies all around the world that "the UK is the right place to develop and test driverless cars", the report goes on. "It will also create a £10 million prize for a town or city to develop as a testing ground for driverless cars."
Milton Keynes has a bit of a head start there. It's already announced it'll experiment with driverless pods that'll ferry passengers between the station and the town centre. By mid-2017, the new town aims to have 100 fully autonomous vehicles running along its pathways. They have a top speed of 12mph, and will use sensors to avoid colliding with pedestrians.
Google's driverless car recently completed 500,000 miles of road tests. Other manufacturers including Nissan, Daimler and Tesla are working on their own driverless cars.
Google's model will hit the roads in 2017, while Tesla reckons its will be ready in 2016.
It sounds fantastic, just hailing a car in the street instead of owning your own. It should be a lot cheaper than running your own motor, too. Are driverless cars safe? Will they catch on, or are they too good to be true? Let me know in the comments, or park yourself over at our Facebook page.