Driverless cars are slated to be tested on UK roads as early as next year. Chancellor George Osborne’s impending budget announcement will include his backing of autonomous cars on British motorways.
The move is in efforts to introduce a new set of proposal which will allow consumers to buy and drive technology enabled autonomous cars by 2020. According to Osborne, driverless cars are the future. They would represent the most fundamental change in the transport system since the invention of the internal combustion engine.
Test on driverless cars is likely to begin in 2017, initially starting on small local roads and then extending to the motorway network. The trials have been planned to be carried out on roads in Bristol, Milton Keyes, Coventry and Greenwich, where planning has already commenced for the trials.
It is also believed that a £15 million ‘connected corridor’ will built between London and Dover to enable driverless cars to communicate with the required infrastructure and other vehicles as part of the trials.
Also, there are talks with Google to extend its driverless car test trials to the streets of London. The deputy mayor of transport for the capital, Isabel Dedring, said that members of the department recently met with Google representatives in order to convince the tech giant to expand its driverless car trial programme to London. If the two parties enter into an agreement, it would be the first time that Google self-driven cars will be tested outside the US.
The government also plans to let people try a self-drive car simulator that uses a realistic 3D model to study how the passengers in a driverless vehicle react to the experience.
Funding for the driverless car trials will be sourced from the government’s Intelligent Mobility Fund, which has funds of about £100 million to invest in a range of new innovations in the transportation sector.
Currently, £20 million of the funds have been allocated to eight driverless cars projects, which include driverless shuttles for disabled people and the development of autonomous vehicle testing centres.
The intelligent mobility market, which is centered on driverless and connected vehicles, is estimated to be around to £900 billion per year globally by 2025. Who knows what a driverless car could do to your car insurance quotes at this stage
By 2030, the autonomous car industry is expected to reach a level of technological sophistication to allow all drivers to become passengers as cars take over on the roads, while they can work, talk to friends or entertain themselves on the internet as they are driven around.