Britain to trial driverless cars from 2015

July 30, 2014
The driverless car "Made in Germany" (MIG) is put through its paces at Berlin's disused Tempelhof airport, on October 13, 2010

Driverless cars will be allowed on British roads from January 2015 as part of a pilot initiative in three cities, the government announced Wednesday.

Cities nationwide are invited to bid to host one of a series of trials that will last between 18 and 36 months, and to receive a share of the £10 million government funding for the scheme.

Driverless vehicles, guided by a system of sensors and cameras, have already been trialled in several countries, including the United States and Japan, with Sweden set to follow.

Business Secretary Vince Cable, outlining the plans, said British scientists and engineers were "pioneers" in the development of driverless vehicles.

"Today's announcement will see driverless cars take to our streets in less than six months, putting us at the forefront of this transformational technology and opening up new opportunities for our economy and society," he said at the headquarters of motor industry research organisation MIRA in the West Midlands town of Nuneaton.

However, motoring organisations warned that road users were sceptical about the technology.

The AA said a recent survey of more than 23,000 of its members showed that 43 percent did not agree that the law should be changed to allow trials of driverless cars.

AA president Edmund King said drivers were "still resistant to change" and that many people "enjoy driving too much to ever want the vehicle to take over from them".

The RAC also said it would be difficult for drivers to give up control of their vehicles.

RAC technical director David Bizley said: "Many vehicles already have features such as automatic braking and it is claimed that driverless technology is able to identify hazards more effectively than a person can.

"But many motorists will be concerned about not being able to control the speed of their vehicle for the conditions or layout of the road in front of them."

Explore further: Audi tests its A7 driverless vehicle on Florida highway

Related Stories

Audi tests its A7 driverless vehicle on Florida highway

July 29, 2014

German automaker Audi made use of a Florida law passed in 2012 that allows for testing driverless vehicles on Florida highways this past Sunday and Monday, by requesting a shutdown of Tampa's Lee Roy Selmon Expressway—engineers ...

Cruise aims to bring driverless tech to life in 2015

June 24, 2014

The old saying why reinvent the wheel will resonate with the coming debut of Cruise technology in certain cars on certain roads next year. The motivating question would be, Why wait to buy a totally driverless car when you ...

Driverless, networked cars on Ann Arbor roads by 2021

November 11, 2013

( —By 2021, Ann Arbor could become the first American city with a shared fleet of networked, driverless vehicles. That's the goal of the Mobility Transformation Center, a cross-campus University of Michigan initiative ...

How will smart cars affect the future of driving?

October 5, 2012

California, Nevada, and Florida have already made driverless cars street-legal, and continuing advances in the technology have led many to predict that the commercialization of automated vehicles is a real possibility in ...

Recommended for you

Earwigs and the art of origami

March 22, 2018

ETH Zurich researchers have developed multifunctional origami structures, which they then fabricated into 4-D printed objects. The design principle mimics the structure of an earwig's wing.


Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jul 30, 2014
Who's at fault if the car crashes? The driver or the manufacture?
not rated yet Jul 30, 2014
@freethinking probably the insurance company. Let's first see how often they do crash. It drives a lot saver than a human.
5 / 5 (1) Jul 30, 2014
Are these 'driverless' vehicles equipped to spot eg 'Fire & Rescue' trucks, as those bright red monsters barrel along with their 'Blues & Twos' going ?

If so, they'd be driven better than several cars I saw today. One just loitered in the traffic lane until the overtaking fire truck was so close that its driver had to brake hard, flash his head-lights and *yell* at the car...

The startled car-driver nearly swerved off the road.
not rated yet Jul 31, 2014
i presume it will be like cruse control you dont let your car crash in to teh back of the car in front when you use that do you? So i imagine teh driver will be at fault it will be their job to pay attention at least in initial stages

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.