UK gives green light for driverless cars

30 Jul 2014

A Google driverless car

The UK government has followed the US’ example by giving the legal go-ahead for initial testing of driverless cars on its road as of January next year.

This will mark the first examples of cars, including the Google self-driving car, to actually navigate public roads, but no doubt under strict controls and regulations.

The UK’s Department of Transport, which is responsible for issuing the legal framework, has only previously allowed the activity on private roads. Now initial trials will take place in three cities across the country as part of a stg£10m fund designated specifically for driverless cars, according to CNet.

While there is still much scepticism regarding the safety of drivers and pedestrians around cars essentially out of human control, the AA’s Edmund King told CNet the fear of change is still evident among drivers.

“Today’s announcement takes us closer to seeing fully autonomous vehicles on our roads but it will take some time for them to become commonplace.

“Many drivers are still resistant to change as 65pc (of AA members) enjoy driving too much to ever want the vehicle to take over from them.”

One of the cars that could take part in the testing is Google’s own-brand car showcased last May that brings back the idea of a bubble car first seen during the 1960s.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic