Driverless cars hit UK roads soon

googlecarYesterday’s Autumn Statement by chancellor of the exchequer George Osborne included information about driverless car tests in the UK.

According to Innovate UK – an arm of the government, £10 million will be plunged into formal trials that will start in January 2015.

The trials will last between 18 and 36 months and will take place in Greenwich, Milton Keynes and Coventry, and Bristol.

Innovate UK said its aim is to make the UK the global hub for research and development of driverless vehicles and other technologies.

Nick Jones, a technologist at Innovate UK, said: “Cars that drive themselves would represent the most significant transformation in road travel since the introduction of the internal combustion engine. It’s vital that trials are carried out safely, that the public have confidence in the technology and we learn everything we can… so that legal, regulation and protection issues don’t get in the way in the future.”

£10 million doesn’t seem quite enough to make the UK the hub for driverless car technology, given that Google and a number of large car manufacturers are plunging heavy investment into the concept.