The UK government is outlining measures to allow driverless cars to be on public roads by 2015. At the moment, autonomous vehicles can only use private roads.
The treasury has said it will create a £10 million prize to fund a city or town to become a testing ground.
Business Secretary Vince Cable will announce measures to boost research later as government wants to show that Britain can be a market leader in this kind of technology,
UK engineers, including a group at the University of Oxford, have been experimenting with driverless cars. But concerns about legal and insurance issues have seen the cars restricted to private roads.
The automotive engineering firm MIRA has tested its driverless vehicles at an 850-acre site in the Midlands.
Some other countries have been quicker to allow driverless cars on their public roads. In the U.S, California, Nevada and Florida have all put plans in place for the vehicles. In California alone, Google’s
autonomous car has done more than 300,000 miles on public roads. In 2013, Nissan carried out Japan’s first public road test and in Sweden, the city of Gothenburg is to allow 1,000 Volvo driverless cars to
take to the road by 2017.
This May, Google unveiled plans to manufacture 100 autonomous vehicles. The search-giant produced a prototype which has no steering wheel or pedals, just a stop-go button. Google has also placed its
driving technology in cars built by other companies, including Toyota, Audi and Lexus.
Automated parking is among the innovations being introduced. But concerns about the safety of driverless cars have been raised by politicians in the US and elsewhere. Earlier this month, the FBI warned
that autonomous cars could be used as deadly weapons, predicting that future vehicles “will have a great impact on changing what both law enforcement and its adversaries can operationally do with a